Ana Marcela Cunha: I will do everything possible to win Fina 10km swim in Abu Dhabi
Men's and women 10km races gets under way at 8am on Friday and the Fina High Board Diving World Cup takes place from 11am on Saturday, both at the Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club
Having already won the Fina 10-kilometre Marathon Swimming World Cup, Ana Marcela Cunha will use the final leg of the race series in on Friday as the first step in her preparations to reach the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The Brazilian has an unassailable 30-point lead over her nearest challenger Sharon van Rouwendaal, the 2016 Olympic champion from the Netherlands, in the eight-race series.
“This is the result of an effort throughout the year,” Cunha said at Thursday's pre-race news conference at the Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club on Thursday.
“You win the series if you constantly perform well. Despite my position of virtual winner, I will do everything possible here in Abu Dhabi to be in the leading positions”.
Cunha was the champion in 2010, 2012 and 2014. Moreover, she has collected nine medals at the Fina World Championships and represented her country at two Olympic Games, in 2008 and 2016.
“The venue is fantastic and the conditions are ideal for a great open water race in Abu Dhabi,” she added.
“The field is quite strong, as this race works as a qualification event for many countries concerning their participation at the 2019 Fina World Championships in Gwangju [South Korea].”
Rachele Bruni, the Italian silver medallist at the Rio Games, said she hopes to end her season on a high.
“It’s always nice to be back here,” she said. “The venue is fantastic and the field is quite strong. I have trained very hard, as this is the very last race of the season and I want to perform well.”
The 51-field women’s race includes Van Rouwendaal, the 2017 champion Arianna Bridi of Italy and Aurelie Muller, the French winner of last year's event in Abu Dhabi.
In the men’s field are the 2016 Olympic champion and 2018 points leader Ferry Weertman as well as Briton Jack Burnell, who trails the Dutchman in the title race.
Marc-Antoine Olivier, the Frenchman who won two gold medals in Budapest 2017, Allan do Carmo of Brazil, Italian Simone Ruffini and Rob Muffels of Germany are the other strong candidates for medals in the field of 84 swimmers.
The 10km race for both men and women gets under way at 8am on Friday and the Fina High Board Diving World Cup takes place from 11am on Saturday, both at the Sailing and Yacht Club.
In other news, Cornel Marculescu, the Fina executive director, announced Abu Dhabi will host the 2020 Fina World Swimming Championship.
Updated: November 8, 2018 04:20 PM