DOHA, October 14, 2019 - Marcello Guidi (ITA) and Brazil's Ana de Jesus Soares wrote themselves into the history books this morning at Katara Beach in the Open Water 5 Km swim by not only winning the first gold medals awarded at the World Beach Games Qatar 2019, but the first in the history of the event.
Despite an earlier-than-usual start time of 6 a.m., the water temperature still hovered over 30 degrees Celsius at the start of the race, and choppy surf nearly toppled some athletes off the pontoon before the horn.
For the 5 Km distance, competitors navigated four laps of a 1.25-kilometre course.
In the men's race, Germany's Soeren Meissner swam to the head of the lead pack of about 10 swimmers after one and-a-half laps and led for the majority of the race. Guidi, who had not won an international event prior to this, sprinted ahead with only 40 metres to go to take gold in a time of 55:25. As Meissner faltered in the last few metres, Denis Adeev (RUS) was also able to pass the German for silver in 55:26. Meissner, part of the powerhouse German world champion squad in the team event, rounded out the medallists in 55:28.
"It was really hard in the end, and two guys passed me," Meissner admitted after he emerged from the water. "I was first at the last buoy, but it was so hard for me at the end."
Heavy favourite Kristof Rasoovszky, who won the 2019 World Championships in the 5k by an astonishing 10 seconds, placed 17th.
On the women's side, de Jesus Soares, the reigning World champion in the 5k and Pan American champion in the 10k, placed herself in the lead early on and never relinquished it, winning gold in a time of 59:51.
"When you race, you know when you have space," the Brazilian said. "You feel the touch of others at your feet. Today, I didn't feel them touching my feet, so I knew I had a little more space for the finish."
Although the Brazilian felt metres ahead of her competition, China's Yawen Hou hit the board a second later, with Leonie Beck (GER) in third in 59:53 to add to her bronze in the same distance from the world championships earlier this year.
Local swimmers, Abdurrahman Mohammed Hisham and Nada Mohammed Wafa made impressive participation in the swimming event.