XVIII Mediterranean Games Tarragona 2018
Approximately 4,000 athletes from 26 different nations will compete across 33 sports throughout the 2018 Mediterranean Games, which kick-off tomorrow in Tarragona, Spain. Olympic champion Mireia Belmonte was recently announced as flag bearer for the host nation and will represent just one of several high-profile swimmers set to compete at the quadrennial event. Of note, this year’s Mediterranean Games were originally set to be held in 2017, however, the International Committee of the competition announced postponement due to funding problems amidst Spanish political and economic instability.
Belmonte took away 2 silver medals at the 2009 edition of the Mediterranean Games before sitting out the 2013 version. Back at it in 2018, the 200m fly Olympic gold medalist is ready to take on the field across the 400m free, 800m free, 200m fly, 200m IM and 400m IM events, setting the Spaniard up for a possible 5-gold result. Challenging her in the IM events will be Turkey’s Viktoria Gunes, the reigning world junior record holder in the 200m breast. 20-year-old Gunes will contest the 100m breast and 200m breast, as well as the 100m fly in Tarragona.
Egypt’s first-ever World Championships medalist, Farida Osman, is slated to race in the women’s 50m free, 100m free and 100m fly. In the sprint free races she’ll meet two French athletes in the form of Lena Bousquin and Marie Wattel. Italians Linda Caponi and Simona Quadarella will also be in the mix across several individual events.
While most of the women’s events have enough entires to provide at least 2 prelims heats, the 200m back and 400m IM events only show 8 women entered, ensuring all make it to the final.
The men’s array of talent includes Egypt’s Ali Khalafalla, Greece’s Kristian Gkolomeev, along with Italy’s Luca Dotto, setting up a potentially super quick men’s splash n’ dash final. Egypt’s Marwan El Kamash and Serbia’s Velimir Stjepanovic will duel in the men’s 200m free, while Fabio Scozzoli of Italy and PJ Stevens of Slovenia will battle in the men’s 100m breast sprint.
1500m freestyle Olympic gold medalist Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy is entered in his specialty event in Tarragona, marking the first time he’ll have swum the 1500m in over 10 months.