Al Bedwawi wants to build on debut at World Aquatics Champs

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Onwards and upwards: Nada Al Bedwawi.

Nada Al Bedwawi, the first female swimmer to represent the UAE at a World Aquatics Championships, has been inspired by her debut at the international meet in Kazan, Russia and hopes she can continue to improve to make further history for her country.

The 18-year-old, who contested the 100m backstroke heats on Monday, has returned from the Worlds with a newfound purpose to better her times and take her swimming more seriously. 

She clocked 1:35.83 in her event, which was 10 seconds slower than her entry time. 

“Surprisingly, I did not get nervous at all in my race because normally at national competitions I would get super nervous but not in this one,” Al Bedwawi told Sport360. 

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“And I believe that this is only the beginning to more future successes.

“This experience was very much needed because it gave me motivation to work harder in the future and get to the finals one day, honouring UAE’s name.”

UAE’s Mubarak Al Besher was due to take part in the 100m breaststroke heats Tuesday but did not start the race. The UAE Swimming Federation were unavailable for comment as to why the team veteran scratched the event.

UAE star Mubarak Al Besher.

Yaaqoub Al Saadi is the only remaining Emirati with an event left in the competition as he will contest the 50m backstroke on Saturday. 

Meanwhile, Youth Olympic champion Ahmed Akram of Egypt came agonisingly close to making the 800m freestyle final Tuesday, falling 0.13sec short, clocking a personal best and a new Egyptian national record.

Swimming in the fastest heat alongside stars like Connor Jaeger, Gregorio Paltrinieri and Mack Horton, Akram clocked 7:49.83 to place ninth amongst 41 swimmers with only the top eight going through to Wednesday’s final. 

“It was a really fast race and my time is great,” said the 19-year-old Akram.

“But I’m a little disappointed for not making the finals. Still it’s encouraging to make this time.

“I still have the 1500m on August 8, so there’s still four days. I don’t want to think about it now because I don’t want to be under stress.”

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