Emirati young prospect Ahmed Aidaros picked up a second medal on day three of the Arab Age Group Swimming Championships in Dubai on Friday, claiming silver in the boys’ 12-13 year olds 50m breaststroke.
Aidaros, who won bronze in the 100m breaststroke on Thursday, clocked 36.62 seconds to finish second behind Egypt’s Omar Ehab, who topped the podium with a timing of 34.59.
In the men’s 16-18 50m butterfly, 18-year-old Ali Al Kaabi grabbed silver with a time of 26.24, 0.37 seconds behind gold medal winner Karim Adel Maher of Egypt.
The Arab Championships are held in conjunction with the Dubai International Aquatic Championships (DIAC) at the Hamdan Sports Complex, with super-finals featuring the best 10 swimmers of the day from each competition held each evening.
UAE Olympian Mubarak Salem was out of the World Aquatics Championships B-standard qualifying time in the 50m breaststroke, his bronze medal-winning timing of 29.06 seconds in the DIAC well off the cut-off mark of 28.55 required to make it to Worlds.
Both Mohammed Al Ghaferi and Yaaqoub Al Saadi failed to swim qualifying times in their backstroke or butterfly events but Al Saadi swam a new personal best 26.75 in the 50m backtstroke.
“Unfortunately our swimmers weren’t able to qualify for the Worlds but we are very close,” UAE national team assistant coach Mohamed El Zanaty told Sport360°.
“We will plan on going to other meets before Kazan, potentially Latvia or Portugal.
“I’m impressed by Yaaqoub, who is constantly improving. Aidaros is a promising young prospect, he dropped four seconds off his PB. Him and Ali Al Kaabi, for them to claim silver in the Arab Championship, which has a very strong field, that’s really good.”
El Zanaty also hailed the efforts of Alia Al Shamsi, the first female swimmer to ever represent the UAE.
While the 15-year-old was not as fast as the rest of the field, El Zanaty believes it was a very important step forward for women’s swimming in the country.
“It think it was a good step and it is the start to having female swimmers represent the UAE. The federation is very happy and there is a possibility that Alia might get a wildcard for Worlds in Kazan. That would be a huge boost.”
Hamilton Aquatics, one of the top clubs in the UAE, weren’t able to enter a massive squad in the DIAC with a host of their swimmers having just returned from a meet in Sheffield last week.
Two of the club’s girls, Hannah Taleb-Bendiab and Yasmine Alammedine are representing Algeria and Lebanon respectively in the Arab Championships.
Taleb-Bendiab clinched gold in the 50m breaststroke on Friday and silver in the 100m breaststroke on Thursday.
The Algerian breaststroke specialist was unhappy with her timing in the 50m though – she clocked 34.25 – but is hoping to redeem herself today in the 200m, which is her signature event.
“These championships are quite a big deal for Hannah because she has an outside chance of qualifying to the World Champioships in Kazan this summer, with the longer-term goal being the Rio Olympics next year,” said Ash Morris, head coach at Hamilton Aquatics. “She has to swim some good times so that Algeria can select her.”