Fina
12 December 2021

The UAE Swimming Federation Announces Emirati Wildcards To Elite Roster

The UAE Swimming Federation has announced the joining of a new group of swimmers representing the UAE national team in the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m), which will be held from 16-21 December 2021 at the Etihad Arena on Yas Island.

The list includes Salem Ghalib, Sara Akasha, Ahmad Al Marzouqi and Mohamed Al Hammadi, bringing the number of swimmers representing the UAE to six athletes, after this summer’s announcement of the participation of Laila Al Khatib and Youssef Al Matrooshi.

The 16-year-old swimmer, Salem Ghalib, won the gold medal in the 100m butterfly at the Arab Swimming Championships, which was recently held at the Sports Center in Mohammed bin Zayed City with an incredible time of 57.78. After winning three gold medals in the Gulf Swimming Championships, Ghalib hopes to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics, and to achieve a distinguished performance in the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m).

16-year-old Sara Akasha, the gold medalist in the 200-meter freestyle at the Arab Swimming Championships, aspires to make a prominent participation in the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) and to increase the number of her medals and achievements.

The UAE national team is also represented by 15-year-old Ahmad Al Marzouqi, who is considered one of the promising stars in the world of swimming. Al Marzouqi is scheduled to participate in the 100m and 200m freestyle, in addition to the 100m and 200m backstroke in Abu Dhabi this month. A talented breaststroke specialist, 16-year-old Mohamed Al Hammadi is looking forward to breaking his personal records, which he achieved during his participation in the 200m, 100m and 50m in the Arab Swimming Championships.

Commenting on the announcement, Sultan Al-Samahi, President of the UAE Swimming Federation, said: “We are delighted to announce that an additional four of our great nation’s future talents, Salem Ghaleb, Sara Akasha, Mohamed Al Hammadi and Ahmad Al Marzouqi, will be competing at this year’s FINA World Swimming Championships (25m), alongside Laila Al Khatib and Youssef Al Matrooshi. We look forward to supporting our young and promising talents of the future.

 "The Emirati participation in the FINA World Swimming Championships, which witnesses the participation of the best swimmers from around the world, is a new achievement in the UAE's journey, which celebrates its 50th anniversary. We are happy to see our ambitious youth during this championship in Abu Dhabi."

This year’s FINA World Swimming Championships will also see an elite field of regional stars descend on Yas Island in the UAE’s capital, including Olympic superstars Tunisian Gold Medalist, Ahmed Hafnaoui, fastest female swimmer in Egypt and Africa, and butterfly and freestyle specialist, Farida Osman from Egypt, and Syria’s Yusra Mardini, who will be representing the FINA Refugee Team, and 21-year-old Omar Abbas.

Following the announcement of his entrance as a wildcard at this year’s championships, Ghalib said: “I am delighted and honoured to be competing at home in the UAE - it is an athlete’s dream. Taking part in the Arab Swimming Championships in October was an incredible experience, and winning gold will be moment I will never forget. The championships in October have definitely given me even more drive and motivation to give my best performance yet next week.

 “It will be an incredible moment stepping out onto the swimming deck, side by side some of the world’s biggest swimming stars. To have the opportunity to swim against an array of Olympic finalists and medalists is something I’m truly grateful for. I hope you make my nation proud at this year’s competition.’’

Tickets for the FINA World Swimming Championships (25 meters) can be purchased via EtihadArena.ae.

Ticket Holders will not only have access to the Arena action – they will also be able to attend the World’s Aquatics Festival in Abu Dhabi, which will be hosted in parallel with the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) on Yas Island, and features the FINA High Diving Qualifier, the ultimate leg of the FINA/CNSG Marathon Swim World Series 2021, a brand-new Open Water Swimming Mixed Relay, and a FINA Diving Team Exhibition.

Combining world-class athleticism with plenty of entertainment for the family to enjoy, fans attending the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) can also experience the ‘Market Street’ – an interactive event village packed with family-friendly entertainment, cultural learning experiences, retail booths and delicious food and beverage for all.

 

Tickets for the World Championships are available across several categories including individual race heats (starting from AED 10), individual race finals (starting from AED 25) and exclusive packages for all races (starting from AED 150). Family packages are also available for two adults and two children under the age of 16, and start from AED 50, for individual races and AED 500 for all races.

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