The National’s Sport cover for the Friday, July 24 issue, featuring Ivan Lendjer, who trains in Dubai with Hamilton Aquatics and is competing at the 2015 Fina World Aquatics Championships in Kazan, Russia.
Ali Khaled previews the global swimming and other watersports showcase, where Lendjer will be among three Dubai-based athletes looking for medals.
“Hamilton Aquatics teammates Velimir Stjepanovic and Ivan Lendjer from Serbia, as well as Mohammed Madouh of Kuwait, now call the Emirates home and will be the focus of local interest in the two-week competition.
“Stjepanovic says joining Hamilton Aquatics has helped him and others progress to compete on an international stage, but he believes swimming has a long way to go yet before it can be considered a top sport in the UAE,” Ali writes.
“The standards and level are definitely on the rise, as Hamilton is producing very high quality swimmers,” says Stjepanovic. “However, I haven’t seen as much improvement in the local scene, which is a shame when the facilities that are on offer in Dubai are top class.
“For me, the Hamdan Complex is the best pool in the world. Dubai really has great facilities for swimming, considering most schools, if not all, have swimming pools that are up to a good standard for training.”
Khaled outlines the ultimate point of this competition:
“As with Madouh and Ledjer, Kazan is just a stop – albeit a major one – on the road to the ultimate destination for Stjepanovic.”
“The Worlds is another stepping stone for the main event – the Olympics in Rio next year,” Stjepanovic said.
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