Qatar’s Amro al-Hamad, who set two new GCC records in free diving in Kalamata, Greece, last month, now wants to break the Asian record next year. “We will chase the Asian record (in free diving),” the Qatari athlete told Gulf Times on the sidelines of a press conference held on Monday at the Doha Marine Sports Club announcing his latest achievement.
He was joined by the Club’s vice president, Salah al-Mannai.
Al-Hamad set the new Qatar national record and the GCC record for free diving in two categories: 83m in Variable Weight and 94m in No Limit, making him the “deepest free diver in the GCC.”
He will be preparing for at least a year to be fit for the challenge, and hopes to get all the support he needs. Besides aiming for a new Asian record, al-Hamad is also aiming to be the first GCC national to break the 100m marker in free diving next year. Al-Hamad’s journey of setting the new GCC records, recognised by AIDA (Internationale pour le Développement de l’Apnée or the International Association for Development of Apnea in English), started in 2015 in Kalamata.
He said the previous GCC record did not hold for a long time since Kuwaiti Ahmed al-Abbas managed to break it by 2m. “What we did this year is we increased the margin, and break it by 11m, to make it harder for him to reach it,” al-Hamad pointed out. “But at the same time I would be grateful if somebody from the GCC to actually break it because it will give me the initiative to go back again and set it even further.”
Asked why in Greece, he said the location has depth, good visibility, no underwater currents, and with pristine conditions suitable for such endeavour. About the timing of the event, al-Hamad noted that they intentionally set it on September 19 to coincide with the His Highness the Emir’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
The Qatari free diver, who was wearing a suit bearing the ‘Tamim Al Majd’ image at that time, said he felt so proud in his achievement. “I was very happy, I don’t want to fail the people of Qatar.”
“There is a lot of drastic preparations to do a three-minute dive, and it took months and years of training and experience to achieve this,” he stressed. “The training extended like a year to get in shape and it involved a lot of swimming pool trainings and external training camps.”
Al-Hamad’s team also held a private camp in Spain from the beginning of June where he felt he was fit to do the challenge.