DOHA: Brazil’s Ana Marcela Cunha and Germany’s Florian Wellbrock won the women’s and men’s titles respectively at the FINA Marathon Swim World Series here on Saturday.
The athletes competed over the 10km course, which was divided into four laps of 2.5km, with the Corniche skyline forming the stunning backdrop for the opening race of the FINA Marathon Swim World Series 2019.
Ana, the overall winner of FINA Marathon Swim World Series in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2018, clocked 2:03:51.5 and won the exciting women’s race, which ended in a close finish.
“It was my plan to lead the race from the beginning because last year I used to stay behind. I tried to be a bit faster in the final lap, which was part of my plan. It was a tough race and I am happy to win as there were many contenders, who were very close till the last moment,” said Ana.
The winner was hard to predict till the last moment as Kareena Lee (AUS) finished second with a time of 2:03:52.0, just 0.5 seconds behind the Brazilian.
Rio Olympic silver medalist Rachele Bruni (ITA) took the bronze (2:03:53.0).
Swimmers faced windy conditions and tides from the opposite direction throughout the event, with Cunha leading the contest right from the start. She maintained her lead for most part of the race and finished as the winner.
Rio Olympic gold medalist Sharon Van Rouwendaal (NED), who won here last year, finished 12th.
All the 52 competitors, who participated in the women’s event, completed the race.
Wellbrock grabbed the men’s title after reaching the finish line in 1:52:21.6. Kristof Rasovszky (HUN) was second (1:52:22.8) while Jordan Wilimovsky (USA) came third (1:52:24.4).
“The race was really tough. It’s my third World Cup and also my third gold so I am really happy. The conditions were hard. I didn’t have many races like this before so I had to change my tactics in the middle,” said Wellbrock.