Doha: Hungary’s three-time Olympic and five-time long-course world champion Katinka Hosszu will look to set the Hamad Aquatic Centre pool ablaze as the FINA Airweave World Cup starts on Wednesday.
The two-day event will be the fourth of eight-leg series after the opening leg in Moscow, Russia, last month.
Berlin (Germany), Eindhoven (the Netherlands), Hong Kong, Beijing (China), Tokyo (Japan) and Singapore are the other stopovers.
Hosszu, who specialises in individual medley events, will be the main attraction along with South Africa’s Chad Le Clos, the most successful male swimmer in the competition’s history with 116 gold medals under his belt.
Though as the reigning world champion she could have opted to skip directly to finals, Hosszu obliterated the competition in the women’s 200 with her 2:05.64 at the Hong Kong leg on Saturday.
The 28-year-old won three gold medals — 400M individual medley with a world record, 200M event with an Olympic record and 100M backstroke — and silver in 200M backstroke at the Rio Games last year.
Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom, who won the 100M butterfly at Rio, will be another top star to look out for as she won a double gold at the FINA 2017 World Championships in Budapest in July.
Triple Olympic champion Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands, Rio gold medalist Rie Kaneto of Japan and Jamaica’s star Alia Atkinson, the 2016 world champion will also hope to win medals.
“After the successful staging of the 12th FINA World Swimming Championships (25M) in 2014 in the Qatari capital, Doha, the legacy of swimming has continued in this part of the world,” FINA President Dr Julio C Maglione said in a statement.