Blazing start to FINA World Swimming Championships

Blazing start to FINA World Swimming Championships

Princess Haya and Shaikh Hamdan were the special guests of honour at the opening ceremony of the 10th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) on Wednesday night.



By Alex Leach

Published: Thu 16 Dec 2010, 12:36 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 4:57 AM

Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, wife of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; and Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, were the special guests of honour at the opening ceremony of the 10th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) on Wednesday night.

Shaikh Hamdan was fittingly present as the competition’s state-of-the-art venue – the Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Sports Complex – was named after the Crown Prince of Dubai.

Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Princess Haya bint Al Hussein during the opening ceremony of the 10th FINA World Swimming Championships in Dubai on Wednesday. —Wam

The evening’s entertainment encapsulated culture and sport merging together via dance and music.

In a showpiece imbued with Arabic infusions, its focus was on past and present swimmers and their achievements at previous FINA World Short Course Championships.

Children were another highly-visual theme, portraying their significance in the great sporting legacy that will be left by this prestigious event – the first of its kind to ever be staged in the Middle East.

A Parade of Nations then saw a representative from each national team march into the complex.

Great Britain, as they held preceding competition, led the procession, with the current hosts UAE duly ending it to a rapturous ovation from the vociferous crowd in the stands.

A succession of speeches then followed from the secretary general of the Dubai Sports Council, Dr Ahmed Al Sharif, the UAE Swimming Association president, Ahmad Al Falasi, and FINA president, Dr Julio C Maglione, before Shaikh Hamdan declared the 10th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) open.

Al Falasi said: “When we presented for this championship over four years ago in Shanghai, we promised the FINA board that we wanted to create a legacy for swimming in the Middle East and to stimulate the sport in our country and our area,” he said.

“When we look around today, we can see the legacy that has been set down by the vision of His Highness through this magnificent Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Sports Complex.

“It is a fitting tribute to our country and will spearhead the growth of swimming throughout the whole Middle East. “In addition, we have worked with the Dubai Sports Council on the 10,000-strong child swim programme, which has been a resounding success and will lead to our country having a new, strong line-up of swimmers in the future. Swimming is strong and its future is secured.”

alex@khaleejtimes.com


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