SWC 2014, Doha - Mellouli: Ready for the long journey!
These expressions became a cliché: “Success is a journey, not a destination”, or “the doing is often more important than the outcome”. He has known success, he came to a delightful destination, but he has just started another journey. Another “doing”. Smoothly, but surely. Oussama Mellouli, from Tunisia, is a true champion, a role model for an entire region, a hero in his country, a great star of Aquatics.
After a year of “ups and downs”, as he frankly says, Mellouli is definitively back to the pools and to the FINA world: his presence in Doha (QAT) and Dubai (UAE), the two first stops of the 2014 edition of the FINA/MASTBANK Swimming World Cup are a solid proof that he wishes to go on. With one destination: the Olympic Games in Rio 2016!
“It’s decided that I want to go there. But I have to work a lot to do this road, step by step, meet after meet”, declares a smiling Mellouli after his 400m free heats on Day 1 in Doha (where he ranked first going to the finals).
“It was a year marked by many changes: I moved from Los Angeles to Baltimore, I train differently, I am definitively more motivated”, continues the 2008 Olympic champion in the 1500m free, and the 2012 gold medallist in the Marathon Swimming of the London Games (after the achievements in the British capital, where he was also bronze medallist in the longest pool event on the programme, Mellouli had expressed some doubts on the continuation of his career).
O. Mellouli (TUN)
Determined to change, at the beginning of 2014, Mellouli entered in the Baltimore team, where coach Bob Bowman works with 18-time Olympic champion Michael Phelps and French three-time Olympic medallist Yannick Agnel. After some swimming rendezvous in the USA (in January and June), the Tunisian legend “is back to the short course arena”. And the first impressions are positive: “I felt good in the water”, confesses the 30-year-old star, winner of the 5km event at the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona (ESP).
But the brand “Mellouli” is more than an iconic swimmer in the water. Ambassador of the 2014 FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) to be held also in Doha from December 3-7, the Tunisian will create an academy for young swimmers in Qatar, in co-operation with the respective Swimming Association and Olympic Committee.
“I know I can play an important role in the development of swimming in the region. Moreover, we have to take benefit from this kind of venues. I would love being a child and having this facility to train and a great idol to inspire me”, concludes Mellouli.
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