STAR athletes started arriving in the kingdom yesterday ahead of the Middle East Ironman 70.3 Championship in Bahrain set for Saturday near the Avenues Mall.
World renowned open water swimmer Chole McCardel was the first to touch down yesterday morning. Her arrival, with a big smile that lit up the VIP area at Bahrain International Airport, was just the beginning of a star parade.
The 34-year-old much decorated swimmer from Melbourne is part of the Legends team which also includes British Olympic champion and legendary long distance runner Mo Farah and his compatriot Mark Cavendish, the world cycling champion.
The trio will take part in the relay event and their famous presence is bound to add gravitas to an event which is already considered one of the biggest in the region.
“I am very happy to receive an invitation to be here in Bahrain to participate in the Ironman Middle East 70.3 Championship,” said McCardel whose past heroics include 29-solo crossings of the English Channel, including eight in one season and three in just a week.
“It’s a great honour to compete side by side with Mo Farah and Mark Cavendish,” she added.
McCardel is not new to Bahrain as this is her third visit. She was famously part of the coaching staff who trained Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa during his 42km swim from Saudi Arabia to Bahrain a few years ago.
“All the proceeds of that event went to cancer patients. Shaikh Khalid’s achievement and generosity is a source of pride,” added McCardel in admiration of Shaikh Khalid.
McCardel’s string of hair-rising achievements include an incredible swim in October of 2014 from South Eleuthera Isalnd to Nassau, completing the 124.4km journey in 41 hours and 21 minutes.
McCardel as an equally inspiring track record as a coach having guided seven relay teams and three solo simmers across the English Channel.
“I am happy to be in Bahrain again and I’m looking forward to meeting sports officials and athletes here, specially young girl swimmers,” added McCardel whose latest award is the ‘2018 CSA Fastest swim on the highest tide.’
McCardel was received on her arrival by Roa Salim Bu Asali, head of Media, PR and Marketing Department of Bahrain Olympic Committee.