Italy's Rachele Bruni followed up her victory in the opening race of the International Swimming Federation (FINA) 10 kilometres Marathon World Cup season, by taking top spot in the second leg in Abu Dhabi today.
Bruni clocked a time of 2 hours 7min 31sec to finish ahead of China's Yan Siyu, second in 2:07:34, and Great Britain's 2008 Olympic silver medallist Keri-Ann Payne, third in 2:07:37.
Having won in Patagones-Viedma, Argentina last month, Bruni is in a commanding position ahead of the third race due in Nouméa, New Caledonia, on April 18.
Meanwhile in the men's race, France's Axel Reymond emerged victorious in a time of 1:57:52, to stave off the challenge of Britain's Jack Burnell and Germany's Christian Reichert, separated into second and third respectively by video finish after both clocked times of 1:57:53.
A total of 69 swimmers - 42 men and 27 women - from 20 countries competed in the United Arab Emirates, which was hosting a race for the first time since United States swimmer Fran Crippen died of a heart attack during the 2010 FINA Open Water 10km World Cup in Fujairah.
The entire US open water national team decided to boycott today's race, citing the decision to appoint Ayman Saad, who coordinated the race in which Crippen died, as race director.
The overall prize purse for the meet was $60,000 (£40,700/€57,200), much higher than the standard $20,000 (£13,600/€19,100), and it is widely perceived that FINA increased the fund to encourage athletes to attend.
Alex Meyer, a friend of Crippen and a fellow US open water swimmer, told ESPN.com yesterday why he chose not to swim in the race.
"I do not...have a problem with the UAE itself, or FINA hosting a race there," he said.
"I will almost always avoid a race in a region where air temperatures seldom dip below 100 degrees F [Fahrenheit], but not because it is the UAE.
"I just want FINA to take responsibility for what happened, restore trust with the athletes by putting real rules in place to make us safer...and not allow the same official to run the race again."
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