Doha, Qatar: Hundreds of kids and adults took the plunge in the Corniche waters as Qatar Swimming Association (QSA) organised another spectacular edition of Doha Open Water Challenge on Friday.
The Qatari citizens and residents showed a lot of enthusiasm as they tested the waters in perfect conditions, the day prior to the FINA Marathon Swim World Series Doha 2019.
Kids mostly contributed in the overall participation at the Doha Open Water Challenge, with a total of 328 athletes in action.
The young athletes competed with a lot of energy in front of their families and friends, who enjoyed the family-friendly races from designated areas on the Corniche promenade.
The exclusive experience saw participants enjoying the same facilities and full services as the elite athletes, including the athlete pre-race call-room, the same starting platform, live athlete tracking and entering the post-race mixed zone, enabling everyone to be a world-class athlete for the day and hopefully inspire the young talents of tomorrow.
QSA President and FINA Bureau Member, Khaleel Al Jabir praised the swimmers for their determination to do well in open water.
“This year, we saw a higher number of participation which proves that the interest is growing among the youngsters,” Al Jabir said while commenting on the event.
“There were a lot of swimmers from the clubs, most of them are young that’s why we split the races in different distances to give opportunity to the young generation and public to take part. The young swimmers showed a lot of passion,” he added.
There were three categories and distances – 400m, 800m and 1200m – each for male and female swimmers.
The 400m category - for boys and girls aged 11-14 – had the highest number of swimmers, with a total of 147 athletes swimming the course.
The 800m races - for boys and girls aged 15-17 – witnessed a participation of 67 swimmers while a total of 114 athletes took part in 1,200m races – for boys and girls aged 18 and over.
Qatar's Salama Kareem won in boy's 400m race while Mohamed Al-Masre won the boy's 800m race. Upcoming Qatari swimmer Walid Dalloul topped in the 1200m race.
The Open Water Challenge is a FINA competition organised one day earlier from the Marathon, inviting the amateur swimmers of the host country.
World’s best swimmers set to compete in the FINA Marathon
The stage is now set for the challenging FINA Marathon Swim World Series Doha 2019, which will take place on February 16.
The top long-distance swimmers will compete over the 10km course in the opening meet of FINA Marathon Swim World Series 2019.
A total of 136 swimmers including 84 male and 52 female athletes from 24 countries are taking part in this marathon.
The women’s race will start at 9am while the men’s race will kick off at 1pm.