Axel Reymond and Rachele Bruni take top honours at Abu Dhabi’s Marathon Swimming World Cup
ABU DHABI // Axel Reymond and Rachele Bruni shared the honours in the Abu Dhabi leg of the Fina 10-kilometre Marathon Swimming World Cup, but the real emphasis of most of the competitors was preparing for Olympic qualifying.
Reymond, 21, from France clinched the men’s race, and Italian Bruni, 24, took the women’s event in what turned out to be two thrilling races all the way to the end Friday at the capital’s Corniche Breakwater.
“I swam a good race and it’s an amazing feeling to win,” Reymond said. “I didn’t even know I had won, so I was a bit surprised to learn that I won the race. After I saw my coach, he told me that I was the winner.”
It was his first race in the World Cup series for the season and a first victory in the race series.
“I missed the first leg in Argentina because I did it last year and fell sick and didn’t like the long trip,” Reymond said.
“It is my first win in the World Cup. I don’t do the 10km very often. I usually do the longer marathon distance at 30km.
“Next, I’m going to New Caledonia for the trials for the World Championships in Kazan in July.”
The leadership in the men’s race changed several times before Reymond took the lead on the final two-kilometre lap, holding on to win from Great Britain’s Jack Burnell and Christian Reichert of Germany.
“The race was absolutely fantastic. It’s in the middle of our hard training season, so this competition was a test to see what we can do,” Burnell said.
“I’m really pleased with the performance. It was also absolutely brilliant all these people cheering you on, you can’t really ask for a much better back drop with these magnificent skyscrapers and the sun.”
Bruni hit the front in the final two-kilometre lap and stayed strongly ahead of the chasing pack to take the women’s gold from Yan Siyu of China and Great Britain’s Keri-Anne Payne.
Payne, who is gunning for her third Olympics, led for a large part of the race but was overtaken in the final two-kilometre lap. Yan moved ahead of her in the final 400m to push her into third.
“It is always good to have a result, especially in a World Cup and such a good field as well,” said Payne, a silver medallist at the Beijing Olympics and fourth at the London Games.
“For me, it is about going back to my coach and reviewing every part of the race from the first lap, and how I did it and what I can improve on and other bits and pieces I may need to change and to do it again.
“Basically analyse the whole race and decide what to do if I need to do more training and to be very specific on a few parts of that. So it was great to come away and gain some experience.
It was her first race in the World Cup series having competed in Australia and South Africa earlier in the year.
“There will be a couple of races in the World Cup that we may take part in, but this year is the Olympic qualifier for us and that’s the key for us,” Payne said when asked if her objective was to win the World Cup series.
“I am going to the World Championships next and then from there the Olympic Qualifications.
“I would be going to Cancun because that’s the second part of the qualification trials, which is another World Cup race. Then we’ll have to think if any more World Cup races.
“Rio would be my third Olympics, fingers crossed, and hopefully I can prove a point by going for it.”
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Updated: March 13, 2015 04:00 AM