Spotlight on Morozov, Campbell at FINA World Cup
The three-day event at the Hamad Aquatic Centre will feature 287 swimmers and will crown the overall individual performers.
The final stop of the seven-leg FINA World Cup series will kick off at the Hamad Aquatic Centre in Doha on Thursday, with the stage set for some exciting contests.
The 2019 series, held in three clusters, started with three races in Tokyo, Jinan (China) and Singapore.
It then moved to Europe for the second cluster in Budapest and Berlin before travelling to Kazan (Russia) and Doha for the final cluster.
The men’s and women’s overall winners are set to be crowned in Doha. Leading the men’s title race is Russia’s Vladimir Morozov, with 297 points, while Lithuania’s Danas Rapsys (210) and USA’s Michael Andrew (162) are next.
Among women, Australia’s Cate Campbell is the clear leader with 300 points while Hungarian Katinka Hosszu (276) and Sweden’s Michelle Coleman (153) follow.
Morozov said he was raring to go. “This is my seventh FINA World Cup event in Doha, having been a part of it since 2013. I also competed in the 2014 FINA Short Course Worlds here. So this is one of my favourite venues, and I’m confident of fast times here,” he said, during the pre-event press conference.
Morozov, who competes in 50M and 100M freestyle as well as 50 backstroke, had won the overall title twice before, in ’16 and ’18, and finished runner-up in ’17.
The 27-year-old said he preferred to swim in 25M short course pools rather than in the 50M long course ones.
“I’m a sprint swimmer and prefer shorter pools. This is because fast swimmers, even if they’re tired, can get a bit of explosive speed as they touch the wall, roll over and push off with their feet. In a 50M pool, if the swimmer is tired, they’re done for because they’ll have to swim double the distance to touch the wall,” he said.
Sweden’s Coleman, who has no realistic chance of winning the overall title, said she would attempt to improve some of her personal best times.
“I’ve been doing well in the past few races, and I’m hopeful of improving my personal best in some of the distances. But it’s going to be neck and neck in a lot of events, and I’m looking forward to it,” said Coleman, who is a force in 50M and 100M freestyle races.
Qatar’s Abdulaziz Al Obaidly, who also attended the press conference, said he would try to put his best foot forward.
“It’s a great honour for all of us to compete at home. We trained hard for this meet, and all of us are very excited to do well,” said Obaidly, who is among the 17 home swimmers in the field.
Qatar Swimming Association President Khaleel Al Jabir, who is also the Chairman of the Organising Committee, said the ’19 edition was bigger than ever before.
“Since it’s a pre-Olympic year, and this is a 50M competition, the number of participants has increased significantly. A total of 130 swimmers took part last year but it’s gone up to 287 this time. The bigger number is great news for us, as organisers, and the fans too,” he said.
The three-day meet will have 34 sets of medals up for grabs. The opening day will feature ten finals, followed by 12 each on Friday and Saturday.
While the heats will take place from 10am onwards, the finals are scheduled for 6pm starts.