Cunha and Wellbrock win Marathon Swim World Series
February 17 2019 12:47 AM
Men’s winner Florian Wellbrock (centre)
Men’s winner Florian Wellbrock (centre), runner-up Kristof Rasovszky (left) and third-placed Jordan Wilimovsky pose with their medals after the FINA Marathon Swim World Series in Doha yesterday.

By Sports Reporter/Doha

Ana Marcela Cunha of Brazil and Florian Wellbrock of Germany emerged as winners of the FINA Marathon Swim World Series, which took place on Doha’s iconic Corniche yesterday.
The athletes competed over the 10km course, which was divided into four laps of 2.5km, with the Corniche skyline forming the stunning backdrop for the opening race of the FINA Marathon Swim World Series 2019.  
Cunha, the overall winner of FINA Marathon Swim World Series in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2018, clocked 2:03:51.5 seconds and won the exciting women’s race, which ended in a close finish. The winner was hard to predict till the last moment as Australia’s Kareena Lee, finished second with a time of 2:03:52.0, just 0.5 seconds behind the Brazilian star. Rio Olympic silver medalist Rachele Bruni of Italy claimed the bronze medal by completing the race in 2:03:53.0.   
Swimmers faced windy conditions and tides from the opposite direction throughout the event, with Cunha leading the contest right from the start. She maintained her lead for most part of the race and finished as the winner. “It was my plan to lead the race from the beginning because last year I used to stay behind. I tried to be a bit faster in the final lap, which was part of my plan. It was a tough race and I am happy to win as there were many contenders, who were very close till the last moment,” Cunha said.            
Rio Olympic gold medalist Sharon Van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands, who won in Doha last year, could only manage to get 12th position after finishing the race in 2:04:05.2. All the 52 competitors in the women’s event, completed the race. 
It was also a very tough race in the men’s event. Wellbrock grabbed the gold medal after reaching the finish line in 1:52:21.6. Kristof Rasovszky of Hungary was second with a time of 1:52:22.8, while Jordan Wilimovsky of the USA clinched the bronze medal after clocking 1:52:24.4.   “The race was really tough. It’s my third World Cup and also my third gold so I am really happy. The conditions were hard. I didn’t have many races like this before so I had to change my tactics in the middle,” said Wellbrock. 
Qatar’s Abdelrahman Mohamed and Ahmad Samara showed a lot of determination as they completed the challenging race with impressive times. Mohamed clocked 1:53:11.6, while Samara finished the race in 1:55:58.7.  The second leg will be held in Seychelles on May 12.

Ana Marcela Cunha of Brazil won the women's race.

QOC secretary-general praises FINA event
Secretary-General of Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) Jassim bin Rashid al-Buenain praised the success of the FINA Doha Open Water Challenge. He said that Qatar has become a capital for international sporting events and competitions.
He noted that 2019 will see the hosting of 50 different sporting events, the most notable of which will be the World Championships in Athletics that is set to take place in September. On the Doha Open Water Challenge, he said that the current year’s edition saw a large number of participants. He congratulated all swimmers who won and those who completed the challenge.
He also thanked the Qatar Swimming Association (QSA) for their good organisation they held in co-operation with FINA. Al-Buenain also highlighted the fact that Qatari teams and athletes are making great gains from hosting such distinguished international events.

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