Abu Dhabi: The ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi, the season-opener for the world’s fastest elite triathletes, has opened early bird entries to the public. The prestigious race, now entering its fourth edition, takes place on March 2-3 in the capital.
Host partner Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC) are aiming to increase participation numbers by 60 per cent to accommodate more participants across all distances. Amateur athletes and tiny triathletes can sign-up for the spectacle via www.AbuDhabi.Triathlon.org for their chance to race on one of the world’s most iconic triathlon courses.
“We were extremely encouraged by the breadth of entries this year and so have decided to expand the 2018 event to welcome close to 4,000 athletes,” said Talal Al Hashemi, Director of Technical Affairs at ADSC.
“World-class events like this showcase Abu Dhabi as an international sports hub for elite athletes, amateurs and enthusiasts the world over.
“We continuously endeavour to create positive sporting experiences that see people come back to participate year-on-year. The 2018 event is set to be yet another unforgettable spectacular for all involved,” added Al Hashemi.
The 2017 event was a record-breaking third edition that saw 2,500 athletes from 52 countries take their marks and race the same breathtaking course as 87 of the world’s leading elite triathletes. The ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi has had a direct positive impact on Abu Dhabi as a destination and the 2017 event saw an economic impact of Dh12.7 million (9 per cent increase on 2016), a direct tourism spend of Dh5.7 million (12 per cent increase on 2016) and the elite race got 189 hours of global TV coverage, with over 18 million viewers.
In an effort to attract more athletes from around the world organisers have now added the ‘Middle’ distance (1,900m swim, 90km bike, 21km run) aimed at amateur triathletes looking for a long-distance adrenalin rush. Amateur participants can choose from the following three race distances for the 2018 event, which can be completed as an individual or as part of a team: Sprint: 750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run; Olympic: 1,500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run; Middle: 1,900m swim, 90km bike, 21km run.
For the first time, the World Triathlon Series season-opener will feature race waves specifically for para-triathletes in a bid to evolve the Abu Dhabi event to be an all-inclusive event that caters to all.
The local community can also make the weekend a family affair, with the return of the Junior Triathlon — a fun event aimed at encouraging youngsters to get active — which hosts race categories for children aged five years and over including: Mini 1km: 1km run for 5 — 8 years; Kids Duathlon: 500m run, 4km cycle, 500m run for 7 — 11 years; Junior Duathlon: 500m run, 7km cycle, 1km run for 12 — 15 years; Junior Triathlon: 120 swim, 4km cycle, 1km run for 9 — 11 years; Junior Triathlon Super Sprint: 400m swim, 10km cycle, 2.5km run for 12 — 15 years.