Swimmers praise Hamdan Complex facilities

DUBAI - Oussama Mellouli has pledged to return to the Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Sports Complex in a further bid to bolster swimming participation in the UAE.

By Alex Leach

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Published: Sun 19 Dec 2010, 12:10 AM

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

The Tunisian won bronze (men’s 200m freestyle) and silver (men’s 400m individual medley) medals at the newly-opened, state-of-the-art venue during the first two days of competition in the 10th FINA World Swimming Championships, having previously witnessed the construction phase of the project.

He is naturally full of praise for the work that has been done, but stressed the importance of capitalising on the impetus — and interest — generated by the Emirate.

“This facility is incredible,” the Los Angeles-based athlete, 26, said. “My first impression is that it’s in the middle of nowhere, so I hope they’ll build – and swimming schools will start – around it and people will take advantage of this facility to its fullest potential here.

“I’ll try to come back to this part of the world and do clinics and swim here as much as I can because I think Dubai is taking a step to promote swimming and we definitely need to support that.”

American Scott ‘Tyler’ Clary also hailed the facilities on offer, saluting the efforts made by Dubai’s authorities to instil a peripheral sport up until now into the national consciousness.

“I’m absolutely amazed with the venue,” Clary enthused. “I’ve never seen an arena like this built just for swimming. It’s great that a country has stepped up and taken measures to promote swimming. It’s awesome to swim here and I’m really excited.”

Meanwhile, Mellouli saluted the support he has received so far from the stands, with his compatriots making their presence felt and known whenever he competes.

In a predicament not too dissimilar to the one faced here too, the Trojan Swim Club member took encouragement at such unequivocal backing from a nation more closely associated to football.

“They made themselves known out there. It’s great,” Mellouli explained. “As Tunisians, we’re a soccer nation – we’re crazy about soccer – and it’s refreshing to see that people are interested in the sport of swimming and are very supportive.

“I’m very fortunate to have them here and it just makes the meet that much more special to me.”


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