DOHA - FINA Swimming World Cup Doha (QAT) 2021 will begin on Thursday October 21 , with exciting races on the cards during the third meet of the World Cup (25m) series at the Hamad Aquatic Center (HAC), Aspire Zone.
Qatar Swimming Association (QSA) has wrapped up the preparations and is set to host the elite line-up of swimmers, which includes many Olympic and World champions.
QSA launched the event at a press conference on Wednesday with FINA President Mr. Husain Al Musallam, QSA President Mr. Khaleel Al-Jabir, rising South African star Matthew Sates and Dutchwoman Kira Toussaint speaking to the media.
Doha has been hosting the World Cup meet every year since 2012 except for the last year when the event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Al Musallam hailed the role of FINA’s longtime partner city in promotion of the sport in the region.
“I am very happy to be here in Doha for the third leg after the Berlin and Budapest meets. It is very nice to see the athletes back in action after difficult times of COVID-19 [pandemic],” the FINA President said.
“Doha is hosting this event since 2012 and on behalf of FINA; I would like to thank the QSA, Qatar Olympic Committee and the Qatari government for hosting this event. Doha has developed as a modern dynamic city because of sports,” said Mr. Al Musallam.
“In presence of top athletes like Matthew [Sates] and Kira [Toussaint] we are expecting thrilling races in the next three days,” he added.
QSA President Mr. Al-Jabir, meanwhile, said QSA is ready to host the event.
“I would like to thank the FINA President for his presence here. I would also like to thank our main sponsor QNB for their continuous support over the years. We have completed all the arrangements and stage is set for the event, which is starting tomorrow,” he said.
To a query, Mr. Al-Jabir said that the hosting FINA World Cup meets has helped QSA find many talented swimmers.
“Without hosting this competition we would not have attracted so many Qatari swimmers. We now have 3000 listed swimmers. We are preparing the athletes and we are hopeful these talented swimmers will do well at the international stage in the future.”
South Africa’s Sates, who has been in phenomenal run in this World Cup series, said he was looking forward to continue his brilliant form in Doha.
“The last two legs have been very good. My mindset is that I want to do my best that’s how I started this World Cup series. Doha is a really beautiful place and I love to compete here,” he said.
“After a break due to the pandemic, we are happy to be back in action and I am thankful to FINA for making this happen,” Sates added.
The South African athlete is currently the overall ranking leader in men’s field in the ongoing series, ahead of second-placed Tom Shields (USA). Dutchman Arno Kamminga, Kyle Chalmers (AUS), Vladimir Morozov, Anton Chupkov (RUS) and Lithuanian Danas Rapsys are among the star swimmers competing in Doha.
Meanwhile, Toussaint, who his second behind Australian star Emma McKeon in women’s overall ranking, hoped for better performance in Doha.
“This is my third time in Doha for the World Cup. It is so nice to be here. I am very excited to take part in the competition and I am looking for an improved performance in Doha,” she said.
Apart from Toussaint and McKeon, Aussie swimmers Madison Wilson and Holly Barratt besides Tatjana Schoenmaker (RSA), Hungarian star Zsuzsanna Jakabos and Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED) will also be seen in action in the women’s events.
As many as 13 swimmers will represent the host nation in the three-day meet, which is being held under strict COVID-19 safety protocols.
A total of 35 races will be held during the three days of action at the Hamad Aquatic Center. The races will be held in two sessions daily, morning heats starting at 10:00, with finals kicking off at 18:00.
Source: Qatar Olympic Committee