Lurz aims to seal World Cup title in Hong Kong waters
World champion Thomas Lurz of Germany will be the hot favourite to win the Panasonic Fina Marathon Swimming World Cup at Repulse Bay this morning.
Lurz, who is in peak form having scored victory in last week's leg in Shantou, China, will be seeking to cap off a fine season by winning the 2011 series, which ends today.
'It would be nice to finish it off by winning the Hong Kong leg. I won this stage in 2009 and last year finished second. But to be crowned overall champion of the series, all I have to do is to finish in the top five,' the 31-year-old Lurz said yesterday.
Germany dominates both the men's and women's standings in the seven-leg World Cup series, which began in Brazil in April. A total of 65 swimmers from 16 countries, including Hong Kong, will participate in the 10-kilometre open water race at Repulse Bay.
'The conditions look very good,' said Lurz, who leads the overall World Cup standings. 'I've been here since Monday and have been practising every day at Repulse Bay, and I can tell you that the water is very nice.''
Lurz won the bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics when the marathon swimming event - 10 kilometres in open water - was held for the first time. He is now aiming for gold at next year's London Games, for which he has already qualified.
He will have to watch out for teammates Christian Reichert and Andreas Waschburger, who lie third and fourth in the overall standings as his main competitors for the Hong Kong leg, which offers total prize money of US$20,000.
Germany also dominates in the women's event with Angela Maurer, Nadine Reichert and Isabell Donath taking the top three places in the overall standings.
'I have to make sure that I don't finish behind the other two to be assured of winning the overall series,' said Maurer, a 36-year-old policewoman from Wiesbaden.