Some hope Abu Dhabi swim takes them onto Brazil
ABU DHABI // Some of Brazil’s best long-distance swimmers will use the Abu Dhabi leg of the Fina 10-kilometre Marathon Swimming World Cup as part of their preparations to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in their homeland.
With two spots left in both the Brazil men’s and women’s squads in Rio next year, there is fierce competition among the country’s elite swimmers.
The World Championship meet in the Russian city of Kazan in July has been scheduled as the Brazilian qualifier for the Rio Games and both Allan do Carmo and Poliana Okimoto have their sights firmly placed on that event. Do Carmo, 25, made it to the Beijing Games in 2008 but missed out on London four years later. He said there are four swimmers competing for the two Olympics spots on the Brazil team.
“My first objective is to qualify and then we will see how I go about my plan to try and win a medal,” Do Carmo said. “I want to get the best result and try to get to the Olympics on a high.
“Of course there is pressure. Everyone is keeping a track of my performance and all want me to do well.
“The preparation around world championships and open waters here will give me an idea of where I stand.”
Do Carmo is out to defend his 10km World Cup title and is looking to improve on his second-place finish in the opening race of the season at last month’s event in Argentina.
Do Carmo had a dip in the Abu Dhabi waters on Tuesday and said it was perfect for a long-distance race. “The water is perfect, clean and flat, with the temperatures around 24°C,” he said.
Okimoto, the 2009 World Cup winner and double Olympian competing in the women’s division has limited her schedule to peak for the Olympic qualifier in Russia.
“This year I want to focus on July’s world championship in Kazan that serves as a qualifier for the Rio Olympics. So I won’t be doing a lot of races and will be doing races only for training,” she said.
“Abu Dhabi is my first race for the season after competing in Hong Kong last October. I will try to do my best and see where I stand as this is the first race for me for the season.
“Everyone who is here to compete have a chance to do well. It will be tough competition.”
The event in Abu Dhabi has drawn more than 70 swimmers from 22 countries competing for a slice of the US$60,000 (Dh220,000) and ranking points.
Among them are the two-time champion Thomas Lurz of Germany and three Emiratis – Yaaqoub Al Saadi, 18, Ali Subeit Al Kaabi, 26, both from Al Ain and Abdulla Hatem Al Balooshi, 18, from Dubai.
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