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Dubai set for Fina milestone

May 29, 2013

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The UAE shall set yet another new sporting milestone when it stages the fourth Fina World Junior Swimming Championships at the Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Sports Complex this August.

In the brief history of the competition from its inaugural edition in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, seven years ago, all three previous events have attracted swimmers from a maximum of 58 countries.

However, Dubai has already surpassed that prior benchmark as a record-breaking 85 nations have confirmed their participation so far, with organisers hopeful half a dozen or so more will follow suit before the registration deadline on June 15.

“This is the fourth time this event will be held after it was staged in Brazil, Mexico and Peru,” said the president of the UAE Swimming Association and head of the organising committee, Ahmed Al Falasi.

“Now, we will set a new record. In the last edition, Fina had only 58 countries and 528 swimmers. We’ve reached 85, with 432 male and 365 female swimmers, along with 236 officials. We still expect five or six other countries to join the tournament too.”

The secretary general of the Dubai Sports Council, Dr Ahmed Al Sharif, added: “I hope this competition will witness the berth of new champions in swimming in the UAE.

“This tournament will add extra value to the ones Dubai has already hosted in previous years, especially in aquatic disciplines like diving, swimming and water polo.

“Since 2011, we’ve witnessed a huge development in swimming in general among clubs and teams and society has more awareness about these kinds of tournaments.

“There have been some programmes, like the one to teach 10,000 children how to swim back in 2010, and we will witness some of those kids participating in this tournament.”The ‘Junior Worlds’, which is held biennially and open to all swimmers under the age of 18 (boys: 15-18, girls: 14-17), has grown in stature to become the mainstay for junior swimmers seeking a breakthrough into senior-level competition. The competition was to be held initially in Casablanca, Morocco, but they pulled out last August citing a lack of funds and time to host the swimming showpiece.

Fina duly handed over the organisation to Dubai, which has played host to a number of Fina-organised events – including several rounds of the Fina Open Water Swimming World Cup, the Fina World Championships (25m) and the Fina/Midea Diving Championships – in the past.

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