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.
Swimming is a wonderful way to exercise and have fun in the hot summer months, so there’s no reason not to learn or improve your skills.
But it’s not just children who can learn at Absolute Swimming Academy, which has over 1,200 kids in its Learn to Swim programme. The Academy is also calling on adults who aren’t comfortable in the water to learn the vital skill.
Emma Hutchinson, director of Learn to Swim at Absolute Swimming Academy, believes there’s more to swimming than just enjoying pools or beaches.
“Out of all the people who spend their time like this, I believe a large number of them are adults who cannot swim,” said Hutchinson.
“The reasons for not knowing how to swim varies from bad experiences to not having the luxury to access pools regularly.
“Something we all need to know is that it is possible and it is never too late to learn.
“Parents often want their children to flourish in activities they were never able to do, but sometimes let their fears take over and their children then miss out. Swimming and water safety is an important asset and an amazing life skill to own, and you are not alone in wanting to learn. Swimming is a great way to exercise and has many health benefits that follow.”
Taghred Chandab, a 40-year-old Australian mother of four, recently learned to swim through her lessons with Absolute Swimming Academy in March.
Chandab’s desire to swim was part of her ‘40 before 40’ challenge for things she wanted to tackle before turning 40 years of age. The challenge captured the attention of Virgin Radio host Kris Fade, who aired Chandab’s story on his show.
“When you grow up in Australia you just know how to swim,” Fade said. “You don’t get taught, you just know how to swim,” he said. “Moving here to the UAE it was surprising to me to realise that there were people over the age of 21 who don’t know how to swim.”
The Kris Fade Show then joined up with Absolute Swimming Academy to recently organise a swimming lesson for some of the show’s listeners at Le Meridien Hotel in Garhoud. Two-time Olympian and dual European swimming champion Velimir Stjepanovic was also on hand to support the swimmers and encourage them to face their fears in the water.
Absolute Swimming Academy are hoping even more adults can learn the essential skill and it’s never to late to learn through their Learn to Swim programme.
WHAT: Absolute Swimming Academy’s Learn to Swim programme
WHERE: Venues across Dubai
WHEN: Offered throughout
CONTACT: Email [email protected]@.com
The 32-year-old Briton had it all to do on the very final dive of the afternoon at Yas Marina, having seen closest challengers Steve LoBue, Michal Navratil and Jonathan Paredes all usurp each other of top place with some stunning efforts in the final round of the tournament.
But when he needed to be at his best, the Eastleigh was exactly that, delivering an epic finale involving three backward somersaults and four twists to earn a score of 140.40 – including a perfect 10.0 from one of the seven judges – to blow his competitors out of the water.
Nearest rivals LoBue (112.20), Paredes (112.75) and Navratil (103.20) all went over 100 on their final efforts to lay down the gauntlet to the reigning world champion, who answered emphatically.
“I’m very happy. It feels great to be back on the 27m platform after a long pre-season of training. It was a high level competition, I felt the others hot on my heels, but I felt like I was diving really well,” said Hunt, the six-time Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series champion.
“I absolutely felt the pressure coming into the final dive. You can’t not hear the other scores from the other divers but that’s something you need to deal with.
“I put my back triple quad dive last because I’ve been doing it for five years and I know I can do it well.
“I think tactically lots of people get their most difficult or less stable dives over with on the first day. It’s nice to be on the platform and not having to roll the dice.”
Humble Hunt has been called ‘The Machine’ by his opponents and picked up right from where he left off last year, gaining successive victories in Abu Dhabi.
“I’m very flattered by that,” he added.
“It’s a great compliment and to be able to get to a level of consistency when people say that, I’m very happy. I’m trying to work as hard as I can in the off-season. Not take much time off so I can get back on the horse and keep improving.
“I still feel like I have extra points to make up and there’s room to improve.”
The women’s event, meanwhile, was won by diminutive Mexican Adriana Jimenez, who claimed her first medal in a FINA competition.
“I’m so happy. It’s a dream come true,” said the 32-year-old who won with 316.45 points, 3.65 ahead of runner-up Rhiannan Iffland, of Australia, and Belarus’ Yana Nestsiarava (296.80) in third.
“I’ve been working to be here the last two or three years. It was a dream of mine many years ago and I’m just so grateful to be here. I was just focused on what I had to do. It’s a beautiful moment for me.”