Lima dreaming of a place in Tokyo Games
The Brazilian World Championship medallist, who is competing in Doha for the third time, is undeterred by the march of time.
When Brazilian Felipe Lima takes the plunge into the 50M pool at the Doha leg of the FINA World Cup, it will be his initial steps towards reliving an Olympic-sized dream.
Lima has competed in only one Olympics in his life – at London 2012 – and he exited in the 100M breaststroke’s semifinal stage. The experience is still fresh in his memory and he is keen to compete again next year in Tokyo but it is easier said than done.
With the soft-spoken swimmer set to turn 37 in April, age is a concern. Nevertheless, he sounded confident ahead of his races – 50M and 100M breaststroke – in Doha.
“I’m in the middle of the season, and it’s going well so far. This is only my second long-course event of the year, after the World Cup in Kazan, Russia, last week. I’m sure the Doha races will give me a clear idea of where I stand in terms of qualifying for the Games,” he told Inside Qatar.
“I’ve begun preparations for ’20 Olympics qualification and the races in Doha will help me assess myself. I’ll take it one race at a time. It’s all good build-up towards the Brazilian Olympic trials in April. I’m confident I can make the cut,” he added.
In Kazan, Lima had finished the 50M and 100M races in second and fourth positions respectively.
Lima said racing in Doha felt like competing at home. It is understandable because the sizeable Brazilian population in Qatar always turns up in large numbers to cheer their swimmers on.
Moreover, he had won double gold in Doha in 2018 and raced to the 50M title and 100M silver in ’16.
“This is my third appearance in Doha, and I’m excited to be back. The swimming pool, the pool complex, the fans and organisation are all top class. Many of the world’s top swimmers are also competing here. In Doha, a swimmer has everything he or she may need to put up superior performances,” said Lima, who won the 50M breaststroke silver at the ’19 FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea.
He said the Qatari capital had become an important stop on the international swimming calendar.
“The Doha World Cup has grown to become an important event of the season. The city is hosting the competition for the eighth year, and that speaks volumes of its importance,” he said.