Current Olympic Champion Ferry Weertman (NED) is one of the favourite swimmers competing in Doha on Saturday 13th March for the first leg of the FINA/CNSG Marathon Swim Series 2021
During the virtual press conference held this morning in Doha to present the first leg of the Marathon World Swim Series, Ferry Weertman commented:
t is so good we can finally have a competition. With all the testing and quarantine imposed upon arrival in the respective room, it feels quite safe and it is important because I know I won't get sick here. I am excited to be here and to see what shape everyone is in. I am going to do my best here, I always race to win. This year we have trained a lot compared to other years. Every race counts in this context.
The floor was then given to the other two athletes taking part in the virtual event. Last year's winner in Doha Leonie Beck (GER) and 2012 Olympic Champion Oussama Mellouli (TUN) added:
I would like to thank FINA and the QSA for the opportunity. It is cool to come back to a familiar venue here in Doha. A lot of swimmers have entered this event from all over the world so I am excited. It is also a stepping stone for my qualification, hopefully my 6th Olympics and I couldn’t hope for a better stage to prepare. Thanks again for having me!
Following Qatar Swimming Association President Khaleel Al Jabir welcome remark during the virtual press conference held this morning, FINA President Dr. Julio C. Maglione said:
"One year ago, also in this beautiful scenario, our last open water event was held. It was just before the worldwide lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, our planet lived an unprecedented situation in time of peace and our athletes have strongly suffered with this situation.
Since the beginning of this year, with global vaccination plans being implemented in most of the countries, we see some light in the end of the tunnel.
Our competitions resumed in January, respecting strict sanitary and health protocols. This will be the case also in Doha.
I am sure that our marathon swimmers have been waiting for this day with joy and enthusiasm. We are coming back to a sort of “normal life” and everyone is excited to compete again!"
"On this occasion, I once more thank our hosts from Qatar for their continuous support and help. This country is a strong FINA partner and we are always happy to be in Doha!
Our athletes will also enjoy the Qatari hospitality and will keep a nice memory from this competition," he concluded.
FINA Technical Delegate Andrea Prayer also expressed a heartfelt thanks to the organisers and the sponsors for their commitment for hosting a competition in a safe environment.