Stage set as UAE’s talented swimmers join world’s best aquatic talent for FINA world swimming championships, aquatics festival Tuesday

Stage set as UAE’s talented swimmers join world’s best aquatic talent for FINA world swimming championships, aquatics festival Tuesday

Stage set as UAE’s talented swimmers join world’s best aquatic talent for FINA world swimming championships, aquatics festival Tuesday

ABU DHABI, 15th December, 2021 – Key officials from Abu Dhabi Sports Council, FINA and the UAE Swimming Federation today welcomed some of the international and Emirati aquatic athletes who will be competing in this week’s FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) and the Global Aquatics Festival.

The 15th FINA World Swimming Championships, to run from December 16-21, is set to be one of the most exciting sports events on the 2021 global sports calendar welcoming the world’s best ‘short course’ swimmers, fresh from the Olympic Games.

Alongside the swimming action in the Arena, sports fans will be able to catch spectacular aquatics displays in Yas Bay with the FINA High Diving Qualifier, the ultimate leg of the FINA/CNSG Marathon Swim World Series 2021, a brand-new Open Water Swimming Mixed Relay and a FINA Diving Team Exhibition set to wow the crowds.

The athletes were welcomed at an official opening press conference held at the FINA Market Street at Yas Island’s Etihad Arena on Wednesday 15th December, attended by Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Sultan Al Samahi, President of the UAE Swimming Federation, Captain Husain Al-Musallam, FINA President and Brent Nowicki, FINA Executive Director.

They were joined by an array of swimming and diving stars from around the world who will all be aiming to impress and vie for glory in front of thousands of spectators at the Etihad Arena over the course of six days.

The official opening press conference was also held to mark the start of the FINA World Aquatics Festival, featuring all swimming disciplines for the very first time in FINA history, including diving, high diving, and open water swimming, alongside the World Championships.

Prior to the press conference the aquatics festival got underway with the Mixed Relay (4 x 1500m) open water swim competition.

Victory in the inaugural open water mixed team relay went to Italy, as the team, led by swimming sensation Gregorio Paltrinieri, soared to take home gold in the Yas Bay waters.

His split of 15:49.

1 was the fastest of the 9 teams.

He swam 3.

2 seconds faster than Hungary’s Kristof Rasovszky who doggedly challenged him in the final lap.

A historic six days of action on Yas Island began with the sound of the start horn blown by FINA President Husain Al Mussalam to signal the start of the first-ever mixed team open water relay (4x1500m).

As the ten teams dived in to kick off the event, Ukraine’s Igor Chervynskiy emerged first in the opening leg, before Hector Pardoe from Great Britain put his team ahead at the halfway point.

In the last two laps of the relay, the Italians began to move ahead with Domenico Acerenza moving his team into top spot before his fellow countryman, Paltrinieri, held off Hungary’s Kristof Rasovszky to secure victory for Italy.

Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said: “Abu Dhabi is continuing to underline its fast-growing reputation as a global sporting capital, and a city capable of hosting safe events during the pandemic.

Just as Max Verstappen was crowned World Champion last weekend at the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, now the water is ready for more than 1,000 aquatic stars from over 180 countries!

Over the coming days these athletes will demonstrate what this sport is all about – skill, incredible strength, determination, teamwork – as well as physical and mental power.

These qualities resonate well with us in this emirate, which places a very strong focus on health and wellbeing – and in building an inclusive society.

Together with our thousands of spectators I cannot wait to watch these athletes in action.

Sultan Al Samahi, President of the UAE Swimming Federation, said: “This coming week at the FINA World Swimming Championships, 6 of our most talented and promising swimmers will be lining up against the world’s best and will showcase their talent and abilities to thousands of spectators inside the Etihad Arena and of course to millions of TV viewers around the world.

“The opportunity to compete in this prestigious global event is certainly one they will enjoy and is a testament to their commitment and efforts that they have put in every day.

We hope they can inspire the next generation of swimmers with their participation.

During the press conference, Australian diver Melissa Wu said: “I’m delighted to be in Abu Dhabi for the FINA Aquatics Festival.

It’s been a fantastic year so far.

I won my first medal when I was 16, and in between I’ve had a lot of ups and downs, before I won the bronze in Tokyo this summer! That was a super special moment for me.

It was an incredible feeling, so I’m really excited for the week ahead.

’’

Combining world-class athleticism with plenty of entertainment for the family to enjoy, fans attending the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) will also have access to the FINA World Aquatics Festival and can also experience the ‘Market Street’ – an interactive event village packed with family-friendly entertainment, cultural learning experiences, retail booths and delicious food and beverage for all.

»Stage set as UAE’s talented swimmers join world’s best aquatic talent for FINA world swimming championships, aquatics festival Tuesday«

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