Olympic gold medallist and long course world champion Federica Pellegrini of Italy will be desperate to fill a gap in her medal collection at the 10th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Dubai later this month.
The 22 year-old freestyle swimmer, who is the world record-holder in the long and short course over 200m and in the long course over 400m, struck gold in Beijing in 2008 in the 200m.
She also won World Championships golds over the long course in the 200m and 400m freestyle in Rome in 2009, but has yet to top the podium in a 25-metre World Championships.
Pellegrini’s best results are a silver in the 200m and a bronze in the 400m, both earned in Shanghai in 2006, and so she will keen to improve on that record during the five days of racing at the spectacular, new Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Sports Complex from December 15 – 19.
The athlete, who was female world swimmer of the year in 2009, a title now held by Rebecca Soni of the United States, won gold in the 200m freestyle in the European Championships in Budapest in August and also in the 800m freestyle at last month’s European Short Course Championships in Eindhoven.
Pellegrini will be one of the spearheads of a strong Italian squad for Dubai that also includes Filippo Magnini, who has two gold medals each in long and short course World Championships.
But while the long course golds are both in individual events, the 100m freestyle in 2005 and 2007, Magnini’s short course golds have both come in relays, the 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle in Shanghai in 2006.
That means the 28 year-old will be another member of the Italian squad with something to strive for when the action gets underway in Dubai.
Magnini will be joined by Luca Dotto, Lucio Spadaro and Marco Orsi, with the quartet taking gold in the 4x50m freestyle relay in Eindhoven, while Italy’s other gold medallists from that Championships, Fabio Scozzoli, in the 100m breaststroke, and Federico Colbertaldo, in the 1500m freestyle, are also set to race in Dubai.
Championships Director Obaid Al Shamsi said: “It is wonderful news that Italy will have such a strong squad at the Championships.
“With so many great athletes coming to Dubai from all over the world, we really are set for a fantastic five days of racing at our spectacular, new venue.”
Among other elite swimmers set to take part in the Championships are Geoff Huegill and Leisel Jones of Australia, Ryan Lochte and Soni from the US, China’s Liu Zige, Alain Bernard of France and Japan’s Ryosuke Irie.
Tickets for the 10th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) are on sale and can be purchased at selected Spinneys stores in Dubai and Abu Dhabi as well as at www.boxofficeme.com or via the official Championships website: http://www.dubaiswimming2010.ae.