Michael Phelps is calling on sports authorities to better police their respective disciplines, especially with regards to doping, the American swimming legend told reporters in Dubai on Monday.
Speaking ahead of the launch of an Under Armour store at Dubai Mall, Phelps discussed his views on the upcoming generation of athletes, and whether they will be up for the tremendous task of following in his footsteps, and the footsteps of other sporting icons that are departing the scene at the moment.
Phelps ended his professional swimming career after the Rio Olympics last summer, where he captured five more medals to take his total tally at the Games to 28, including a record 23 gold.
“I hope in sports over the next couple of years that we can have people that will emerge – I believe there are people out there, I feel like there has to be people out there that are hungry enough, and hopefully they’re doing it the right way,” Phelps said in Dubai on Monday.
“We talk about the Olympics, we can also talk about doping too, that’s something that has to change as well. So I think for the sports to really grow and change, I think we’re going to have to see a lot of – for me I would like to see federations step up and police certain things so we are all competing on an even playing field.”
With track icon Usain Bolt retiring earlier this summer at the London 2017 World Athletics Championships, Phelps bidding farewell to the pool in Rio, and tennis superstar Roger Federer turning 36 last month and edging closer to the end of his career, are we perhaps about to witness a lull in international sport with many all-time greats stepping away?
“For me, in my generation, in my sport career I think I’ve been lucky to see some of the greatest athletes in their respective sports. You think of where sports are right now, the best of the best have just been crushing records,” said the 32-year-old from Maryland.
“I think in some sports you see kids that aren’t hungry that want to go out and do different things. You see a lot of up and coming athletes so I think sports will forever change. I think for me the one frustrating thing that I see in my sport, in swimming, is there are some people that I think feel that they deserve to be given something instead of working at it and that frustrates me because I know how hard it is to get to the top.
“It’s easy to get the top, it’s harder to stay there. So I think once people get there, I think they kind of lose sight on what it takes to stay there or how hard it is to stay there.”
Stay tuned for more from Phelps’ insightful and revealing conversation in the UAE.
Dubai-based Egyptian triathlete Omar Nour has completed an epic 48-hour indoor row in preparation for his Atlantic Row challenge later this year.
Nour, who will embark on a 5,000 kilometre row across the Atlantic Ocean with adventurer Omar Samra in December, revved up his fitness preparations with a testing workout at Warehouse Gym in Al Quoz.
The 38-year-old began the rowing machine endurance effort last Thursday (at 14:00 on July 27) and finished up on Saturday afternoon (July 29) – completing around 315km, a distance that equates to roughly 6.3 per cent of the overall total he and his partner will have to conquer doing the real thing.
Chalk markings were made on the gym floor surrounding Nour and his rowing machine to mimic the size of the vessel Team 02 will use in the challenge – which is approximately 7.5m long x 1.8m wide, and built of wood, fibre glass, carbon fibre and Kevlar.
Indeed, he wasn’t allowed to go beyond these parameters during the row and up until two months ago, had not rowed for longer than 10 minutes.
“This has helped me immensely in my preparation. I knew I was doing this for 48 hours and not 40 days – the anticipated time the challenge could take –and I underestimated the pacing at the start,” the world’s fastest Arabic-speaking triathlete, who has put on 15kg of muscle through his intense training regime, told Sport360.
“It taught me it’s not just about the rowing, but about the recovery and how quickly you get your chores done on the boat, as well as trying to get as much sleep as possible, hydrate and eat the right things.”
On Sunday, Nour travels to Egypt to meet up with Samra and they plan to train together on the River Nile.
It’s there where they will work alongside each other for the first time on the water before the Egyptian duo head to the UK for further testing and course work.
He added: “It doesn’t matter how hard you can row, you can’t fight the elements and nature – so you have to understand it and use it to your advantage, so that’s the next step for us and to continue the hard work we’re doing physically.”
Team Abu Dhabi begins its challenge for honours in the UIM F2 World Championship at the Lithuanian Grand Prix on Kaunas Reservoir this weekend.
Rashed Al-Qemzi and Mohammed Al-Mehairbi will race two DAC boats against some of Europe’s most talented drivers in the first round of this year’s racing series.
It’s been over a month since the team operating out of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) was in action at the 24 Hours of Rouen endurance race in northern France, narrowly missing out on a podium finish.
But Al-Qemzi and Al-Mehairbi are confident that they can build upon the experience they gained in a maiden season of Formula Two racing in 2016.
“Rouen this year failed to deliver the result we had anticipated, but one of our boats recovered well after earlier delays to finish fourth in its class and I am confident that we can surprise this year in F2,” said Salem Al-Remeithi, general manager of ADIMSC. “The field for these races is very strong and it’s great experience for our drivers to be racing at new venues against some of the best in the business.”
In 2016, Al-Qemzi took part in five of the seven rounds of the series and finished ninth in the points’ standings, his best result being a fine second place at Macon in France.
Sweden’s Pierre Lundin dominated last year’s championship, eventually claimed four victories and won the title by 40 points from fellow countryman Erik Edin.