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16th FINA World Championships

July 24 - August 9, 2015
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Oussama Mellouli: 10 kilometres of adventures

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22.07.2015, 13:35 Sport
The first Olympic champion to successfully perform in both open water and in the pool had a training session at the Aquatics Palace today. Tunisia's top athlete of 2003-2004 only arrived in Kazan yesterday evening.

If in Beijing Oussama Mellouli won gold in the 1,500m freestyle, his London success is associated with open water, where he swam 10km in 1:49:55.1, overtaking Thomas Lurz from Germany and Richard Weinberger from Canada.

The 31-year-old swimmer talked about his plans for the Championships in Kazan, having just come out of the water on his way to a warm-up. The athlete's schedule is tough.

- You ended the 16-year dominance of the Australians in the 1,500 metres at the Olympic Games in Beijing, but who do you now see as the open water rivals?

- I really don't know, I think there aren't any obvious favourites in open water swimming, and anyone can win. My main goal is to be one of the first 10 and earn a place in the Olympic Games.

- Have you decided on your short distances at the Championships in Kazan? 1,500 or 800 metres?

- I'm now focusing on 10 km. That is my first distance. I'll decide after the race. It will depend on how I feel.

- The last time you were in Russia was 13 years ago. How do you rate the work of the organisers this time?

- I really don't recognise Russia. Comparing Kazan now with how it was in Moscow in 2002, everything feels different, and I see a lot of progress.

- Where is it more comfortable for you to perform: in the open water or a swimming pool?

- You know, at this point in my career I love open water more, simply because it's such an adventure, a journey. The distance requires a lot of effort, including mental effort. Here there's a fight, and tactics, not just swimming back and forth. You decide yourself how to go all the way. It's a great challenge.

- You are going to win, aren't you?

- I don't know (smiles). We'll see!

Press Office of Organising Committee for 16th FINA World Championships