Pedro Adrega, Head of FINA Communications Department

Everything is ready in Doha (QAT) for the fifth leg of the 2017 FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup, taking place in the Qatari capital on October 4-5. At the two-day meet at the Hamad Aquatic Complex, host of the 2014 FINA World Swimming Championships (25m), some of the best swimmers of planet are highly motivated to display great performances and improve their position in the overall ranking of the competition.

Three of them were today in the Opening Press Conference of the event: Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) and Chad Le Clos (RSA), the provisional leaders of the season’s ranking, and Kirill Prigoda (RUS), fourth best so far before the Doha competition.

“Happy to be back in Doha! I was here in 2014 for the World Championships, which were very successful for me. It’s my first World Cup here, it’s going to be fun”, said Sarah Sjostrom. “I had a very good season – I am doing the entirety of the World Cup and it’s going pretty well…”, she continued. 

“Doha is a second home for me, I’m coming here since 2012. I hope to improve my recent performances in Hong Kong”, said Chad Le Clos. Looking at Sjostrom, next to him, he smiled: “I am sure that Sarah will establish a couple of World Records here…”

Optimism also marked Prigoda’s speech. “Like Sarah, I was also here for the last time for the World Championships, and I was bronze medallist. So I have found memories of this pool and I expect everyone will swim fast in this very nice venue”. 

The Press Conference was also attended by FINA Executive Director Cornel Marculescu, by the President of Qatar Swimming Association and FINA Bureau Member Khaleel Al Jabir, as well as the FINA Technical Delegate Daphne Bird. 

“Ouside the frame of the FINA World Championships, the World Cup is the best and most privileged opportunity to further promote our Sport. The event in Doha will be spectacular, as this city is actively preparing for the 2023 FINA World Championships here in Qatar”, declared Mr. Marculescu. “However, nothing is more important in Swimming than our Stars – and some of them are here with us”, added the FINA Executive Director. Mr Marculescu concluded by thanking the Qatar Swimming Association and Qatar Sports Council for their support to this organisation. 

Mr Al Jabir emphasised that this competition is generating a great enthusiasm in the city and mentioned, with proud, that some young Qatari swimmers were among the assistance of this Press Conference. “This is very important for us, as it will be essential for building-up and develop the sport of swimming in Doha and Qatar. This competition and the presence of so many stars, is certainly a motivation for our youth”, he said. 

After the Hong Kong event last weekend, the Doha rendezvous concludes the second cluster of the FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup. Initially including also a leg in Dubai (UAE), this Organiser cancelled the organisation of the competition, and obliged to a change of the competition programme in each of the cluster’s legs. 

With the new 2017 rules for the World Cup, swimmers are competing twice in each event over the three-leg cluster, but with the reduction to two events in cluster 2, the full programme of 34 individual events for each leg was reinstated only for Hong Kong and Doha. Moreover, the general rule of a maximum of four individual events per swimmer/per leg was slightly modified for this second cluster, and now comprises six events per competitor.

Finally, in a recent decision of the FINA Executive, the prize money distribution for the 2017 edition of the World Cup was raised, now including the second and third best of the overall ranking, as well as the seventh and eighth ranked swimmer in each cluster.