ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi to challenge world’s best
Source: Gulf News
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With the dawn of 2016, the year of Rio Olympics, Abu Dhabi will once again find itself the focus of the triathlon world as the first leg of the ITU World Triathlon Series returns to the UAE capital. The world’s best triathletes, including several Olympic contenders, will launch this highly anticipated Olympic season on the Abu Dhabi Corniche on March 5, competing on an Olympic distance course for the very first time in the Emirate.
“The Olympic season is always a very exciting time for the ITU World Triathlon Series and also acts as a catalyst for the growth of the sport around the world,” said Marisol Casado, ITU President and IOC member.
“Abu Dhabi will be one of the pivotal races this series for many reasons. We are expecting a particularly strong Abu Dhabi line-up this year as many Rio 2016 contenders use the race as a key stage in their Olympic preparations, whilst others aim to make the Olympic qualifying mark for their national squads in the emirate. The sooner triathletes can qualify for the Olympics the better, so many will be looking forward to Abu Dhabi as their best chance to qualify earlier on in the season.”
After successfully opening last season, the capital has been retained as the first stop on the ITU World Triathlon calendar, with the race taking place on the weekend of 4-5 March. The 2015 race also saw triathlon superstars who earned a podium finish – France’s Vincent Luis, South Africa’s Richard Murray, USA’s Gwen Jorgensen and Bermuda’s Flora Duffy – qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympics in one of the most competitive races of the Series.
This year, triathlon’s finest will, for the first time, complete the Olympic triathlon distance on the Corniche which features a 1500m swim, 40km bike and a 10km run. Organisers are expecting another star-studded field following last year’s line-up which included all of the world’s top ten male triathletes and eight of the top ten females.
“This is the highest calibre triathlon staged in the region where Olympic and World champions, and the globe’s toughest competitors race against each other right here in Abu Dhabi,” said Ahmed Abdullah Al Qubaisi, Abu Dhabi Sports Council’s (ADSC) Director of Marketing and Communications, which is hosting the event. “We are looking forward to an unforgettable weekend with a stellar field of elite competitors and over 2,000 participants.”
However, the ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi is not just a race for elites; it is also perfect for anyone looking for an all-new challenge in 2016. With the start of the New Year, everyone is once again focusing on health and fitness goals and setting resolutions to help shed those holiday pounds. This world-class triathlon is the perfect excuse to get back in training with the first challenge of the season. Online registrations for the 2016 ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi are open to the public via the race website, www.AbuDhabi.Triathlon.org.http://www.AbuDhabi.Triathlon.org.
“This spectacular event is for everyone no matter their level of experience. There are three race formats – Sprint, Olympic and Maxi – which means there is a race category to suit all fitness abilities from professionals to keen amateurs and first timers,” said Gary Marescia, Race Director of the ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi.
“This year we have a limited number of spots for the public so I would encourage people to sign-up before the event sells out.”
This year also sees the return of the Junior Triathlon and Aquathlon ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi, an event aimed at encouraging youngsters to get active. There are three entry categories: ‘Tiny Triathlete’ - a 50m swim and a 100m run, ‘Junior’ distance featuring a 200m swim and 1.5km run, and ‘Junior Triathlon Super Sprint’ which consists of a 375m swim, 10km cycle and a 2.5km run.
The event will once again be headquartered at the Abu Dhabi Sailing & Yacht Club on the breakwater opposite the Abu Dhabi Corniche, where a spectator-friendly village will feature a 1,000-seater grandstand, bike park, ‘Friends and Family’ area, refreshment kiosks and a Kids Zone. The elite race will see a ‘swim start’ off the pontoons used by the 2014/15 Volvo Ocean Race, with both the top men and women on the ITU World Series rankings competing for line honours.
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