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PR 49 – Setúbal (POR) hosts last qualification opportunity for Rio

Around 120 swimmers from 50 nations will be in Setúbal (POR) for the 2016 FINA Marathon Swimming Olympic Games Qualification Tournament on June 11-12, the last opportunity to be selected for the 10km Marathon Swimming races at the Rio Olympic Games.

After the first stage of qualification at the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan (RUS), where the first 10 ranked swimmers in both the men’s and women’s event earned their ticket to the Olympics, the Portuguese event will dictate the qualification of the remaining 15 male and 15 female swimmers that will compete in the waters off the Copacabana beach.

In 2012, at the London Olympic Games, the gold medallists Oussama Mellouli (TUN, men) and Eva Risztov (HUN, women) had qualified also in Setúbal. The Tunisian star is once more in Portugal, while the Magyar champion was one of the qualified athletes in Kazan.

During the Press Conference presenting the event, the President of the Portuguese Swimming Federation António José Silva assured that “all conditions are met for a great competition”. The water temperature of the Sado river water will be around 18/20°C, also the expected temperature at the Rio Atlantic Ocean environment.

Maria das Dores Meira, Mayor of Setúbal, welcomed the FINA family in her city, expressing the appreciation for “the FINA confidence in this organisation. Four years ago, we proved that we could do it; that why we are again running this event in 2016!”

Ronnie Wong, Chairman of the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee, praised “the venue and the Portuguese hospitality. We feel very well in Setúbal and the conditions for the athletes and officials are excellent”.

Finally, Chad Ho, from South Africa, 5km world champion in 2015, is naturally looking for the Rio qualification. “In 2012, I was the second South African here in Setúbal and I missed the Games, but I am pretty confident in 2016. The gold medal in Kazan also boosted my confidence!”

Besides Ho, some of the stars present in Setúbal include Damian Blaum (ARG), Christian Reichert (GER), Gergely Gyurta (HUN), Igor Chervvynskiy (UKR), and of course the above mentioned Melllouli. In the women’s field, Cecilia Biagioli (ARG), Mireia Belmonte (ESP), Keri-Anne Payne (GBR), or Samantha Arevalo (ECU) are among the favourites for the Olympic qualification.

The 10km races in Setúbal will take place on Saturday June 11 for the women’s competition (at 16h00, local time), will the men’s event is scheduled for Sunday June 12 at the same hour. Both races will be live streamed on FINA’s Youtube channel.