Posted on September 28, 2016

Building on the legacy of previous editions of the FINA airweave Swimming World Cup, 16 promising young Qatari swimmers are slated to compete in the upcoming 2016 edition, which will be held in the Hamad Aquatic Centre from 8 to 9 October.

The majority of the Qatari swimmers are still teenagers and also include Olympians fresh from the Rio 2016 Games, Noah Al-Khulaifi, 17, and Nada Arakji, 21 - who became the first ever Qatari female athlete to compete in two Olympic Games after her debut in London 2012. Speaking about Qatar’s participation in the World Cup, Khalil Al Jabir, President of the Qatar Swimming Federation, said:

“We are pleased that so many young Qataris are competing in this year’s World Cup. This shows how Qatari swimming continues to go from strength to strength and it is events like this that help to develop and grow swimming in Qatar. Competing in a world-class event in front of a home-crowd is extremely valuable experience for all our young swimmers as they build for the future. We wish them all the best of luck and we hope that this year’s World Cup will further raise awareness of swimming in Qatar and the region and inspire more young athletes to take up the sport. We encourage everyone to get their tickets and come down and support them.”

16 young Qatari swimmers to compete 2 [qatarisbooming.com].jpgAl-Khulaifi, whose two younger brothers Jacob, 15, and Yousef, 11, are also taking part in the FINA airweave Swimming World Cup, competed in the Men’s 100m backstroke in Rio 2016 – marking his first ever Olympic appearance. The 2016 edition of the FINA airweave Swimming World Cup marks the second participation of Al-Khulaifi, who competed in the 2015 edition in the 50m breaststroke and 400m freestyle events. Arakji returned to the Olympic pool in Rio 2016 after becoming one of Qatar’s first ever female Olympians in the London 2012 Olympic Games. Arakji competed in the women’s 100m butterfly in Rio and looks to build on her Olympic experience in the Hamad Aquatic Centre pool during the Swimming World Cup.

Speaking about her experience in Rio 2016, Arakji said: “It felt amazing to have been in Rio – it was a great experience and everyone was so supportive. Seeing other world class athletes makes you want to do more, and just knowing that I was able to do my best, give my all and make my country proud is something really amazing and it’s something that I will always look back at.” Arakji competed in the 2014 and 2015 editions of the FINA airweave Swimming World Cup in Doha where she took part in the 50m freestyle and 50m butterfly events respectively.

Other members of Team Qatar that will take part in the Swimming World Cup this year include teenagers Mohamed Mohammed, 13, Abdulrahman Al-Kuwari, 17, Naser Yaser, 17, Yousef Mohamed, 14, Abdulaziz Al-Obaidly, 15, and Mesalam Al-Nabet, 15. Despite his young age, Al-Nabet will compete in the Swimming World Cup for the second consecutive time, after competing in the 2015 edition in the 100m and 50m freestyle, 100m and 50m backstroke events. The up and coming athlete, who started swimming at the age of nine, has competed in various GCC championships.

16 young Qatari swimmers to compete 3 [qatarisbooming.com].jpg

Another notable member of the Qatari swimming team in this year’s FINA airweave Swimming World Cup is 15-year-old Abdulaziz Al-Obaidly, who holds the Qatari national records for the 100m and 200m backstroke, the former remains untouched since 2011. Al-Obaidly, who joined the national team aged 6 and started swimming at age 3, competed in last year’s FINA airweave Swimming World Cup in the 50m and 100m freestyle, and 50m backstroke. Speaking ahead of the Swimming World Cup, Al-Obaidly said: “I’m very excited to compete in the FINA airweave Swimming World Cup again. Last year was a great experience for me and I’m always looking to learn more. Competing in front of my friends and family feels amazing, it gives me an extra boost to do all that I can during a race.”

The average age of the Qatari athletes competing in the FINA airweave Swimming World Cup 2016 is just 15 years old. This points to the immense impact that hosting the Doha leg of the World Cup has had on encouraging youth to take up swimming, and is a positive sign of the promising future for Qatar’s athletes moving forward. To support the young Qatari swimmers from the stands of the Hamad Aquatic centre, purchase your tickets through Q-tickets.com - prices are set at 20 QAR per person per session. Given this year’s stellar line up of athletes, be sure to book your ticket well ahead of time.

The full line-up for the upcoming FINA airweave Swimming World Cup – Doha will be revealed in the coming weeks. Find out more at www.qatarswimming.com, follow us @SWC_Doha on Twitter, and search for FINA airweave Swimming World Cup Doha on Facebook.

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