Yesterday, (June 29), a major press conference was held in Abu Dhabi (UAE), the site of the FINA SC World Championships, wherein the preparations for the meet were discussed. Newly-elected FINA president Captain Husain Al-Musallam, Secretary General of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council HE Aref Hamad Al Awani, President of the UAE Swimming Federation HE Sultan Al Samahi and HE Mohamed Al Zaabi, Chief Executive Officer of Miral Asset Management, along with Abdullah Al-Wahaibi, Tournament Director, and FINA Bureau Member Taha Al Kishry were all in attendance at the presser.
The SC World Champs are scheduled to take place at the Etihad Arena on Yas Island from December 16-21 of this year. The FINA World Aquatics Convention is also set to take place in Abu Dhabi in December.
The Abu Dhabi Sports Council began the conference by revealing the mascot for SC World Champs – Dana the Hawksbill Turtle. The council explained this decision by saying “as strong swimmers displaying grace and power while underwater, the endangered Hawksbill Turtle, which is native to Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island, is the perfect mascot for the FINA World Swimming Championships.”
Also during the press conference, two Emirati wildcard participants who will be competing at SC Worlds were revealed. Those two swimmers are Youssef Al Matrooshi, 18, and Layla Al Khatib, 15. Al Matrooshi is also set to represent UAE in the men’s 100 free at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Speaking on the preparations for SC Worlds, President Al-Musallam said “As recently elected FINA President, I’m very much looking forward to bringing the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) to Abu Dhabi for the first time, particularly during a year in which the country celebrates its 50th anniversary. We have very fond memories from the 2010 edition, brilliantly held in Dubai.”
Al-Musallam added that he has “great faith and trust” in Abu Dhabi’s planning and operations for SC Worlds.
Aref Hamad Al Awani, Secretary General of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, expressed his thoughts as well. “Hosting an international event of this stature reflects the UAE’s and Abu Dhabi’s position and pioneering role in the return of normal life to society after the challenge witnessed by the world.”