x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Explanation yet to emerge on cancellation of world swimming meeting

Mystery surrounds the surprising decision by Dubai to decline to host the 2013 Swimming World Championships, with various stakeholders remaining tight-lipped yesterday.

DUBAI // Mystery surrounds the surprising decision by Dubai to decline to host the 2013 Swimming World Championships, with various stakeholders remaining tight-lipped yesterday. Mattar al Tayer, the deputy chairman of the event's higher organising committee, cited a realignment of priorities for domestic swimming as the primary influence when the announcement was made on Saturday. Al Tayer did, however, confirm that Dubai will still host the short-course World Swimming Championships in December - an event previously viewed as a curtain raiser to the world championships three years later.

Both swimming events had been scheduled to take place at Dubai Sports City's ultra-modern Dubai Aquatic Centre, which is due to be completed this summer. The sudden loss of a world event is likely to raise concerns over the long-term viability of the facility. Al Tayer's new objective is to convince the community to take advantage of the Olympic-standard facility. "Our goal after the championships is to encourage wider use of our new aquatic complex by the people who live here," he told WAM, the government news agency.

Meanwhile, a statement released by FINA, the sport's governing body, described Dubai's 2013 U-turn as a "mutual" decision. The emirate won the bid last year ahead of Hamburg, Germany, and Moscow. Representatives of the Dubai Sports Council, the UAE Swimming Association and the organising committee of the short-course championships all declined to comment on the situation yesterday. One source at Dubai Sports Council, however, did reveal that a "higher committee meeting" - where the aborted plan will top the agenda - is scheduled to take place next week.

Multiple online reports continue to suggest the global economic crisis has instigated mounting financial concerns among Dubai's sporting fraternity. The source, however, disputed that, and confirmed money was not a factor. emegson@thenational.ae