(MENAFN- The Peninsula) By Fawad Hussain / The Peninsula
DOHA: Dutch compatriots Sharon Van Rouwendaal and Ferry Weertman yesterday reigned supreme as Qatar hosted their first-ever FINA/HOSA Marathon Swim World Series successfully at the picturesque Doha Corniche.
Rio Olympic gold medallist Van Rouwendaal touched home in 2h02m24s4 while Olympic title-holder Weertman clocked a time of 1h52m41s6 to clinch his first gold medal in the World Series as thrilling battles were witnessed in 10km races in both men and women events.
'I am very happy with my maiden gold medal win, Weertman said after his victory in the men's event.
'It was lovely out there. When I first heard about competing in Doha I thought it will be very hot but it wasn't like that and enjoyed the race thoroughly.
'It was a very tough race and I feel it will be an intense competition for the overall win in the series, said the Dutchman.
France's David Aubry took silver in 1h52m42s5 and Italy's Simone Ruffini, last year overall Series' winner, took bronze in 1h52m24s7 in the men's race.
The women's event saw Germany's Leonie Beck (2h02m25m2) and team-mate Finnia Wunram third in (2h02m26s7) falling behind Van Rouwendaal after a tough contest, earlier in the morning.
'It was a close race and I am very happy to end as winner, Van Rouwendaal.
'I enjoyed the conditions and will definitely like to come back to Doha, she added.
As many as 115 long-distance swimmers (43 women and 72 men) including World and Olympic champions took part in the race.
Doha, a popular venue for FINA World Cup for several years, will continue to host the Marathon Swim World Series until 2021 after making their debut yesterday.
'It's another success for Qatar and the Qatar Swimming Association, Qatar Swimming Association (QSA) Khaleel Al Jabir said.
'We are very happy to be hosting this popular event and we look forward to make it even better in the years coming ahead, he said.
The Doha event was the first leg of FINA/HOSA Marathon Swim World Series which will now be moved held in Seychelles, Portugal, Canada, Chinese Tapei, Hungary and China.
A day before the FINA/HOSA Marathon Swim World Series in Doha, the QSA also hosted Open Water Challenge which saw hundreds of local kids and adults taking a plunge at the Corniche.
Over 360 Qatari kids from the neighbouring schools and adults gathered for the challenge to sample the exact same experience as the world's best swimmers.
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