His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, attended the official Opening Ceremony of the FINA World Swimming Championship (25m) and the Global Aquatics Festival on Thursday, which was held at the Etihad Arena, Abu Dhabi.
The prestigious global event will feature 1,100 athletes representing more than 180 countries, in what will be one of the largest international sporting events on Abu Dhabi's calendar.
His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan inaugurated the 15th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m), joined by His Excellency Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili. Chairman of the Department of Community Development, and a number of distinguished guests and continental and local federations presidents.
His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan was joined by distinguished guests, delegates, athletes, and members of the public to witness a live spectacular Opening Ceremony that weaved together the pearling industry heritage of the Emirate, the spirit of the FINA World Swimming Championships and the vision of the UAE.
His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said: “We would like to welcome the FINA delegation and all the international delegations that are taking part in the exciting competitions at the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) and the Global Aquatics Festival, which will take place until December 21st.
"We are confident that Abu Dhabi will host an exhilarating event that will feature the world's athletes and be the best ending to a wonderful sports calendar that we have hosted in the Year of the 50th. This year has witnessed several great achievements and reaffirmed Abu Dhabi's position on the global sports landscape - attracting the best sporting talent, who have competed in a world-class destination."
"We are proud of Abu Dhabi's amazing achievements and global successes, which are mainly due to the ongoing generous support by our visionary leadership and its constant efforts to improve the sporting scene and enable athletes to achieve their aspirations. This helps increase the public's interaction with various sports activities that will help support their quality of life. This
also reflects the unique position of the Emirate, and the great trust it receives as one of the leading global cities thanks to the excellent infrastructure and the world-class sport facilities," His Highness said.
He further explained that hosting such large-scale events reiterates the UAE's global leadership and its mission of openness, peace, and love towards people of the world.
"We are pleased to see the world gathering at this exceptional event that is being hosted at Etihad Arena – an excellent building that exemplifies our leadership's support to development and growth."
His Highness praised the sincere efforts by the relevant government entities that supervise the implementation of precautionary and protective measures to ensure the success of global sport events and activities while maintaining the country's achievements in protecting the safety and health of everyone.
He also thanked FINA and all sponsors, supporters and volunteers who are working to make the event a success. He also wished all participating delegations a great stay in Abu Dhabi and success in their competitions during the Championships and the Aquatic Festival.
During his opening speech, H.E, Aref al Awani welcomed the FINA family and all the international teams participating in the 15th FINA World Swimming Championships and World Aquatics Festival that highlights Abu Dhabi – as one of the world’s leading destinations for hosting international sporting events.
“We welcome to this exceptional event over 1,100 athletes from over 180 countries around the world. This embodies the wise vision of the UAE’s leadership and its great focus on building bridges of communication with people of the world with the approach of peace, tolerance and love in the land of the UAE which celebrates its 50th year and is reaping the rewards of the founders’ legacy to build historic achievements under the vision of our inspirational leaders.”
“We are proud of Abu Dhabi’s success and its leadership in overcoming challenges, with its leading model and application of the highest standards of safety, security and precautionary measures, confirming its leading global position by hosting a strong calendar of international sporting events, to become a chosen destination for global federations and sporting bodies”.
“Today we witness the culmination of a successful partnership between the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and FINA, which began in 2015 when Abu Dhabi hosted the first World Open Water Swimming Championships. We are now hosting the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) for the very first time in Abu Dhabi, continuing the path of excellence and innovation which led us to be awarded the world’s leading sports tourism destination in 2019”.
“We are pleased to have the world’s leading swimmers, and stars of the Olympic Games, at this exceptional Abu Dhabi event, which witnesses the largest participation and the highest prize pot in the history of swimming championships. It is held in the innovative Etihad Arena, which is built to the highest international standard to host this Championships”.
He concluded with thanking FINA and partners at Miral and Yas Island, as well as front line heroes, wishing good luck to all athletes, and an amazing stay in Abu Dhabi to all guests.
After that, Dr. Hussein Al Musallam, President of FINA, thanked the UAE leadership and people for hosting the great global event. He also thanked His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, for his attendance at the opening ceremony and his strong support for the event.
"The UAE has always set the standard for hosting great events, and Abu Dhabi has always been a destination for successful events, and we are confident that it will achieve the impressive success of this major global event."
"The participation of more than 180 countries with a total of more than 1,100 male and female athletes confirms the status of the championship as well as the position of Abu Dhabi”.
He wished success to the participants in the event and that each person achieve their goals.
After Al-Muslim finished his speech, the names and flags of the participating countries were reviewed, amid a great interaction of the fans and participants in the stands, and then the official competitions for the first day of the World Championship began.
The Opening Ceremony showcased an incredible visionary lighting show, which featured a traditional dhow on an Abu Dhabi seaport with divers descending to the depth and collecting a pearl - symbolising this year’s Championships logo. The ceremony followed the journey of this single pearl, providing eye-catching views along with live artistic choreographed swimmers.
The Championships logo reflects an elite swimmer emerging from the water, made up of thousands of pearls and in recognition of Abu Dhabi’s rich pearl diving heritage as well as celebrating the parallels between Abu Dhabi’s pearl divers and the swimmers that will be competing.