By Joanne Bladd
Five-time Olympic champion to return to swimming with Abu Dhabi-based training plan
Five-time Olympic freestyle champion Ian Thorpe has announced
his return to swimming for the 2012 London Olympics, and revealed he will be
kicking off his comeback in Abu Dhabi.
The 28-year-old, nicknamed ‘Thorpedo’, will be relocating to
the UAE capital city to begin training as he aims to secure a spot in Australia’s
2012 national squad.
“I'm going to be spending most of my time in Abu Dhabi and
then also be spending some time in Europe as well working with a few different
coaches,” he told a press conference in Sydney.
The move is rumoured to be the result of a clause in Thorpe’s
sponsorship deal with Australian airline Virgin Blue, which recently signed a
five-year deal with Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways.
Sponsor Virgin Blue said the swimmer as "very much
back" and ready to win gold.
Thorpe’s agent David Flaskas told Australian media that the
emirate was the ideal place for the athlete to resume his career, due to its
close proximity to Europe.
"In a short time there will be an announcement about
the coaches he's working with and the type of training he'll be doing. Abu
Dhabi is the perfect base for Ian to do a lot of his groundwork and gives him a
lot of access to the part of Europe he needs," he said.
"He couldn't do this programme if he was based in
Thorpe quit competitive swimming in 2006 after a glittering
career in which he captured nine Olympic medals, five gold, three silver and a
bronze, and 11 world championship titles.
im happy Thorpedo is back on game. wish you all the best man.