Published — Thursday 15 November 2012
Last update 15 November 2012 5:22 am
DUBAI: Asia’s best swimmers, divers, water polo players and synchronized swimmers have all converged on the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Sports Complex for the 9th Asian Swimming Championships.
Today will see the start of the swimming and synchronized swimming competitions which will bring together the finest the continent has to offer. One of the highlights of the championships is the participation of four-time Olympic medallist Sun Yang of China who bettered his own 1500m freestyle world record on his way to two golds in London this summer.
Yang, who attended yesterday’s pre-event press conference, will head a powerful Chinese team which is expected to dominate in swimming, synchronized swimming and diving, while Kazakhstan is likely to be the team to beat in the men’s water polo competition.
Ahmad Al Sharif, secretary general of the Dubai Sports Council and chairman of the Organizing Committee said: “As you know, this is the first time the Asian Swimming Championships have been held in this format of all four disciplines in one event and one venue, and we are honored that Dubai has been handed this responsibility as host. We are also delighted that Dubai’s spectacular Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Sports Complex has the capability to achieve this.
“Thanks must go to Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of UAE and ruler of Dubai, for his great support in developing sport in this region, and of course Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid – crown prince of Dubai, chairman of the Executive Council for Dubai Government and chairman of the Dubai Sports Council.
“Over 700 athletes from 29 member nations, including numerous world and Olympic champions are in Dubai to compete for the highest honor on the continent and we are looking forward to taking in all the action over 11 truly memorable days.”
President of UAE Swimming Federation, Ahmed Al Falasi, said: “The Dubai crowds will get to witness Asia’s best athletes in action. And it fills us with great excitement that some of the biggest stars on the continent are here, including two-time Olympic gold medallist and world record holder, Sun Yang of China.
“Such amazing talent competing here in Dubai will create a legacy for not only swimming but now also diving, synchronized swimming and water polo in the region.
“It’s been an incredible year of aquatic events, with the FINA/Midea Diving World Series held in March, then the FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup in October and the first International Water Polo and Synchronized Swimming Championships.
“We have no doubt that the 9th Asian Swimming Championships will be another highlight, which will provide plenty of thrilling action and scintillating entertainment in this spectacular venue.
“Our sincere thanks go to all those involved in making these Championships a success, including all the officials at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai.”
The championships will run from today to Sunday. The swimming and synchronized swimming competitions will kick off the championships. Next on the program is the water polo running from Nov. 19-25 and the diving from Nov. 22-25. Tickets to the action are Dh20 for day passes and Dh80 for season passes for all 11 days. Tickets will be available at the entrance and children under 12 enter free of charge.
Also taking place during the championships will be a water polo clinic for coaches and technical officials. Former world and Olympic champion Igor Milanovic from Serbia and former Greek international Yiannis Giannouris will be conducting the water polo clinic from Nov. 23-25, which includes a round table discussion. Those interested in taking up this unique opportunity to attend the workshop, should contact [email protected] or +971 (0)4 3062690.