Promising Emirati talents set to make a speedy splash this Friday at the FINA Hosa 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup
Abu Dhabi, UAE. Thursday, 12 March 2015: Three of the UAE’s big stars in the sport will be going shoulder to shoulder with the world’s fastest swimmers in the second round of the FINA Hosa 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup on Friday, March 13.
Emirati young guns Abdulla Al Balooshi and Yaaqoub Al Saadi will be joining teammate Ali Al Kaabi this weekend. UAE’s most successful long distance swimmer, Abdulla Al Balooshi, was first introduced to swimming by his older brother over ten years ago. “Swimming runs in our veins! All my four brothers are crazy about swimming and I’ve grown to love the sport through them. We’d swim everywhere; in swimming pools, in the beach and just about anywhere where we could dive right in.”
The 18-year-old up and coming long distance specialist has his eye on a medal at the FINA World Championships in Kazan this year and said: “This weekend will be the first time I compete in a FINA long distance event and my performance will be everything. My goal is to qualify for Kazan so I hope all my hard work and preparations for Friday’s competition come to fruition.”
Al Balooshi trains for 18 hours every week with one of his most inspirational mentors, Egypt’s Mohamed El Zanaty. Former Olympic Marathon swimmer and UAE national team assistance coach, Zanaty, is a long distance champion himself and currently coaches Abdulla and two more of UAE’s top class swimmers, Yaaqoub Al Saadi and Ali Al Kaabi. All three of Zanaty’s pupils will be making their debut at the FINA Hosa 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup this weekend after 12 months of intense training in long distance to prepare for this very competition on home ground.
“The FINA Hosa 10km competition will be an extraordinary experience for Abdulla, Yaqoob and Ali. This will be the first time they race with swimming machines who have countless titles and medals between them. This is a fantastic opportunity for UAE’s swimmers to be exposed to the world’s top talent in an event taking place right here in their backyard. Going into this event on March 13 our goal is to qualify for the FINA World Championships in Kazan in the summer,” said the retired open water champion, Zanaty.
Eighteen-year-old Yaaqoub, known as UAE’s youngest backstroke genius, is feeling ready to race in front of a home crowd. Al Saadi kick started the 2015 season on a winning note when he won two gold medals at the GCC Swimming Championships in Dubai for both the 50m and 100m distances last month. “Competing on home soil is brilliant and I am determined to do my best to qualify for Kazan. We’ve been training hard and I feel like I’ve got all the tools I need to make it to the FINA World Championships,” said Al Saadi who in 2014 made history for the UAE after becoming the first Emirati swimmer to achieve a B-standard qualifying time for a major swimming event – the Dubai International Aquatic Championships.
Joining teammates and compatriots is UAE’s Ali Al Kaabi who is one the best butterfly swimmers in the region. The 25-year-old Emirati who started swimming at the young age of eight took home his first medal at the Gulf Swimming Championships in 1996. “It was an unforgettable experience! Since then I fell in love with butterfly and long distance swimming and competed in many regional and international competitions.”
Ali, who has been training for more than eight years in Al Ain Club with teammate Yaaqoub, also claimed four medals at the 2015 GCC Swimming Championship – two silver and two bronze. Al Kaabi can’t wait for this Friday’s challenge and said: “I am proud to be representing the UAE at one of FINA’s most prestigious long distance competitions. I am looking forward to meeting the world’s most outstanding swimmers – I’m here to learn from the best.”
Over 70 of the world’s fastest and strongest swimmers from 22 countries will be on the start line on March 13 contesting the highest prize purse event, of USD 60,000, on the Series this season. UAE Swimming Federation’s General Secretary is delighted to see UAE’s promising talent join the elites on what is set to be the most thrilling swimming competition in Abu Dhabi ever.
“This is a world-class sporting event and I can understand how our swimmers must be feeling going shoulder to shoulder with Olympic medallists and World champions. However, we are behind UAE’s swimmers and we will be there to provide them with all the support they need to cross that finish line. We wish them the very best of luck!”
The 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 & Yacht Club on the Marina Mall breakwater. Entry to the event is free and there will be grandstand seating, food and beverage outlets, and entertainment for spectators of all ages to enjoy.