Organisers report no issues as preparations gather apace for next month’s prestigious long-distance swimming competition
Abu Dhabi, UAE. Monday, 23 February 2015: A blustery day on Saturday in the UAE capital saw the ideal conditions for organiser’s to stage the National Open Water Championship and Test Event for next month’s FINA Hosa 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup 2015 that will take place on Friday, March 13.
The Test Event, which took place on the same course that will be used for the prestigious swimming event in three weeks’ time, was a key step in the event planning and organisational cycle and a critical test of the course and safety protocol.
Thirty-five boys from two age groups, 16 year olds and 18s and over, took to the crystal clear turquoise waters in between the Abu Dhabi Corniche and Marina Mall breakwater, and the Event passed off without any safety issues, marking the perfect preparation and practise for the organisers.
And in tough weather conditions, which tested both organisers and participants alike, it was the swimmers of Al Jazeera and Al Nasr who came out on top.
“My congratulations to Yassine Al Shamaa and Abdulla Hatem for their successful swims over the weekend – when you have such strong winds it makes long distance open-water swimming so much tougher so their achievements are all the more impressive,” said His Excellency Aref Al Awani, General Secretary, Abu Dhabi Sports Council, the co-organisers of the Test Event and of next month’s FINA Hosa 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup.
“Whilst the conditions were tough for the swimmers, they were a great test for us as organisers,” explained Al Awani. “Next month we will welcome the world’s top long distance swimmers to Abu Dhabi and our absolute priority is to ensure their safety and to put on a stunning competition for swimmers and participants alike.”
With up to 100 of the world’s top male and female endurance swimmers set to line-up on March 13 for the US$ 60,000 event, safety on the water is also front of mind for co-organisers the UAE Swimming Federation.
“The health and wellbeing of all of our participants is paramount,” explained Abdulla Al Weheibi, UAE Swimming Federation’s General Secretary.
“When you are organising a long distance swimming event like this there can be no expense spared to ensure it is a safe environment for all swimmers. As we did today, on March 13 we will have a world-class team of water safety experts located throughout the course to ensure that every part of the race is monitored and managed, to ensure the FINA Hosa 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup Abu Dhabi is a great success.”
Independent water safety consultants Swim Safety are in Abu Dhabi to provide expert support and health and safety oversight for the race which is sanctioned by the world governing body for swimming - FINA.
Martin Suzan, Race Safety Officer and Water Safety Manager at Swim Safety, oversaw a water safety team of more the 40 people for the National Open Water Championship and Test Event and will also be in charge for next month’s World Cup:
“Today was a really good test. We made some changes due to the weather and it was a good opportunity to experience what it will be like on race day on March 13, to test the team to its full capacity and let them see what is required of a FINA event,” said Suzan.
“It all went well – we had no injuries or issues with swimmers so it was a great preparation for the World Cup race next month.”
“It is a big job with lots of elements to bring together - it’s really important that the medical team, coast guard, lifeguard, jet-ski safety monitors, safety boats and technical team can have some time out on the water together and work together as a single unit. We have a water safety team of over 40 people and enjoy great support from the coastguard, lifeguards UAE Swimming Federation, FINA and the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club. So it really is a stellar safety team.”
Next month’s FINA Hosa 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup Abu Dhabi will take place on a specially laid out course on the waters directly in front of the Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club on the Marina Mall breakwater. Swimmers will take to the same waters that will be used a week earlier for the ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi event on March 6 – 7. Spectators are encouraged to come along and enjoy the action as up to 100 of the world’s top male and female long distance swimmers take to the waters to battle it out for top honours. Entry to the event is free and there will be grandstand seating, food and beverage outlets, and cultural entertainment for spectators of all ages to enjoy.