French and Italian swimmers win in Abu Dhabi while Americans boycott race
The second round of FINA’s 2015 10km marathon swimming world cup series took place earlier today in Abu Dhabi and saw more than 70 swimmers from 20 countries compete for a generous prize purse of $60,000.
Notably absent though were swimmers from the USA who chose to boycott the race. The choice of Abu Dhabi as a marathon swimming venue is controversial because of the death of American swimmer Fran Crippen in a race there in 2010.
French swimmers, in mourning since the tragic death earlier this week of Camille Muffat in a helicopter accident, will have been cheered by Axel Reymond’s victory in the men’s race. He finished in 1:57:52, 1.5 seconds ahead of Britain’s Jack Burnell and Germany’s Christian Reichert.
For Reymond, who usually competes over 25km, this was his first gold over the 10km distance and he said: “It looks like it won’t be my last one.” At 20 years old, that’s a promise he’s got a good chance of fulfilling.
“Today’s race was absolutely fantastic,” says Burnell. “It’s in the middle of our hard training season so this competition was a test to see what we can do. I’m really pleased with the performance today. It was also absolutely brilliant all these people cheering you on, you can’t really ask for a much better backdrop with these magnificent skyscrapers and the sun.”
In the women’s race, Italy’s Rachele Bruni topped the podium with a time of 2:07:31, doubling her gold medal total for the season after her win in Viedma, Argentina. China’s Siyu Yan finished second followed by Keri-anne Payne, making it a good day for British swimmers.
“Today’s race was about trying something new and a different experience,” says Payne. “The competition wasn’t a qualification for us; it was an opportunity to get some training so that’s what I did today.”