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Tax-Break Carrot For Barcelona '13 Partners

Jul 5, 2012  - Craig Lord

News Round-Up:

Barcelona 2013: Organisers of the XV FINA World Swimming Championships due to be staged in Barcelona from July 19 to August 4, 2013, are seeking private sponsorship in exchange for tax breaks for companies that sign up for a partner program. Declared an "event of exceptional public interest" by the Spanish Finance Ministry, a department not without its wider troubles, Barcelona 2013 partners are elegible for a maximum tax benefit under Spanish law between July 1, 2012 and the December 31, 2013. It costs many tens of millions to host a FINA world long-course championship.

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Australia: Aussie breaststroke specialist Tessa Wallace has not had the easiest of passages to the London 2012 Games this summer. For much of her preparation the 18-year-old has battled Ross River virus and anaemia and worked her way back from a knee injury that required surgery, she tells the Sunshine Coast Daily. As Pelican Waters teammates waved her off at Caloundra Aquatic Centre yesterday, she told the paper: "If I can do a PB and make the final, that will be an achievement in itself. If I can then shave another second or two off my time, I might be in with a medal chance."

USA: the withdrawal of Michael Phelps from the 200m free at London 2012 helped two others step up a level, Ricky Berens to the solo 200m swim, and Davis Tarwater on to the team as a relay back-up. There was another moment at trials in Omaha that ended on Monday that ranked higher than Phelps in the generosity stakes: in finishing 7th in the 100m freestyle final, in-form Dana Vollmer - in lane 2 and on her fifth best time of the season and 19th best of her career in textile (all swum 2010-2012) - touched the wall a hand behind Cal teammate in lane 1 beside her, out-of-sorts Natalie Coughlin, whose 6th place got her a ticket to London 2012.  

European junior championships: In Antwerp, Gabriele Detti (ITA) broke 3:50 for the third time this year for a 3:49.67 victory ahead of Britain's Matthew Johnson, 3:51.04, and James Guy, 3:51.84, in the 400m freestyle for the swim of the first day of action.

Synchro debate: London 2012 marks the first Olympics at which women will compete in all 26 sports on offer, a major change from Stockholm 100 years ago when women could only participate in five of 110 events. Well, sort of: the stat only works if you talk "aquatics". Divide up the FINA sports and you get to the drop: synchronised swimming. No men. The wider picture across all sports has women competing in 30 fewer events than men, and while there are 162 gold medals to be won among men, women will chose 132. Even so, men have called for action after being ruled out from competing at two events at the Summer Olympics, synchronised swimming and rhythmic gymnastics. A lobby group of male synchronised swimmers wrote to the IOC and FINA last month with a demand to be let in. The group, which includes the London swimming group Out To Swim, claimed gender discrimination (against the Olympic Charter). "For the most part, this discrimination has affected women athletes, and great progress has been made in this area. But in at least one sport, it is men who are victims of this discrimination, which is no less intolerable than that aimed at women," Reuters reported the letter as saying. Stephen Adshead, manager of the Out to Swim Angels synchronised swimming team, told the agency: "We realise it is too late for men synchronised swimmers at London but we would like to have a serious discussion with the IOC after the Games as there is no reason why there can't be gender equality in all sports." The IOC may only move if FINA does - and if FINA does, something else from the programme would have to be sacrificed. One other possible outcome of any discussions: synchro to be dropped from the Games altogether. It is an issue that has been raised before.