Rachele Bruni and Axel Reymond back in Abu Dhabi to defend distance swimming titles

Amith Passela reports on the elite Olympic-style watersport events on offer this weekend in Abu Dhabi.

ABU DHABI // Rachele Bruni and Axel Reymond are both back for their title defence in the Abu Dhabi leg, the second of the seven-race series of the Fina 10-kilometre Marathon Swimming World Cup.

Bruni, 25, who won the women’s race 12 months ago and the defending world champion had made it to her first Olympics in the summer and will be part of the Italian contingent.

She has been in good form too, winning the opening leg of the world race series in Argentina on February 7.

“Of course I will try to do my best in all the competitions and even more than the previous year because it will be part of my preparations for the Olympics,” said Bruni ahead of tomorrow’s race at the Abu Dhabi Corniche Breakwaters.

“It is my first Olympics and will be a big challenge for me. Almost all those in the Olympics are here for the race and I am sure they will also have their own plans.”

Bruni is hoping to build on her last year’s success by winning the world title and qualifying for the 2016 Olympics.

“I had wonderful to start to the season with victory in Argentina,” she said. “That race was different because it was in the river and I had to negotiate with the flow of the water.

“Abu Dhabi is different conditions and is inshore. Having won here I know the conditions but it will be a bit harder because of the competition.”

Bruni won four of the seven races last year. She was fourth in Hungary and sixth in the final leg in Hong Kong.

“It’s very hard to choose just one race because as I said before I always come back with very good feelings about the entire circuit ... but I will say Abu Dhabi because it was my first time over there and I loved discovering this amazing place, and the race was exciting!” she said when asked which circuit was her favourite.

Reymond, 22, has his focus firmly laid on winning the overall title in the men’s category after missing out on a ticket to the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“I could only finish 12th in the pecking order and only 10 will travel to Rio,” he said. “Obviously my target would be to win in Abu Dhabi again. It won’t be easy though.”

Reymond was fifth in Argentina and thinks his win last year in Abu Dhabi will be of help.

“It always helps when you are in familiar waters,” he said.

A new addition to this year’s event is the High Diving World Cup from Saturday to Monday.

It includes the men’s competition in five rounds from a 27-metre platform and the women’s in two rounds from 20m.


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