Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Dubai: Guy Barnea scores new Israeli swimming record
Barnea ranked 11th in qualifier, will move on to semi-finals as Israeli swim team competes amid heavy security in Gulf state.
Guy Barnea scored a new Israeli swimming record during the World Swimming Championship in Dubai on Wednesday, reported Israel Radio.
Barnea swam a 100-meter backstroke in about 51 seconds and qualified for the semi-final round.
The Israeli swimmer was ranked 11th in the qualifier and will participate in the semi-finals on Wednesday evening.
Another Israeli swimmer, Gal Nevo, failed to make it to the semi-finals in the men's 200-meter freestyle, after finishing 37th in the 78-man field.
The five-member Israeli swim team is competing amid heavy security at the short-course swimming championships after arriving in Dubai a day late due apparent security concerns.
Nevo was the first swimmer to walk out onto the pool deck when competition got under way Wednesday.
"I feel kind of lucky as an athlete being here, because the average Israeli guy probably wouldn't visit here," Nevo told The Associated Press.
Nevo said the team arrived late — just a day before the meet — because "there was some problem with the security."
"But once we got here, everything was good. (They're) taking good care of us," Nevo said. "We have a lot of security around us, so I'm not sure I'm going to see anything. But being able to compete is great."
Nevo said the team has about seven or eight "visible" security agents watching the team.
Last year, the United Arab Emirates — which has no diplomatic relations with Israel — refused to grant Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer an entry visa for the Dubai Championships, apparently because of anti-Israeli sentiment in the Gulf state.
Her exclusion from an official WTA event sparked an uproar among her fellow players and earned the tournament a $300,000 fine.
However, Peer was permitted to enter this year's tournament in February, and reached the semifinals despite being largely confined to her hotel room and the tennis club.