Abu Dhabi: Seven of the top 10 women in triathlon will lead a pack of 60 from 19 countries at the World Triathlon Series season opener from March 3 to 4. The world class field will go head to head on the all-new Yas Island course, making for one of the strongest women’s line-ups to appear at the ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi.
The powerful race bill includes Abu Dhabi’s reigning champion Great Britain’s Jodie Stimpson; 2016 world champion, Bermuda’s Flora Duffy; world number three, Japan’s Ai Ueda; USA’s Olympians Katie Zaferes and Sarah True; world number six, New Zealand’s Andrea Hewitt; and world number eight, Australia’s Charlotte McShane. The seven women together boast a total of 71 wins between them.
“With the world’s top women racing in the UAE capital next month, the ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi is certainly set to be a race that will both inspire and entertain participants and spectators,” said Aref Al Awani, general secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, host of the ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi.
Stimpson, who claimed the ITU Word Triathlon Abu Dhabi women’s title last year added: “The Abu Dhabi win was one of the highlights of my 2016 season, so I can’t wait to return to the UAE and check out the new course. This is a bucket list race for most triathletes so I am lucky to be joining such a strong women’s field on the start line in March.”
Out to challenge Stimpson is 2016 ITU World Champion and three-time Olympian, Flora Duffy, who is intent on starting the 2017 with a win. “I couldn’t ask for more from the Abu Dhabi race — beautiful course, great weather and amazing friends to race with — and hopefully a win of course! I am counting down the days before I’m back on the blue carpet.”
In addition to the elite field, the ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi has amateur race categories suited to all ages and abilities, and will welcome 3,500 amateur athletes to take part in the two-day event. The race categories, which can be completed as an individual or as part of a relay team, include:
• Sprint: 750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run
• Olympic: 1,500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run
• Maxi: 1,500m swim, 80km bike, 20km run
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:
• Mini 1km: 1km run for 5–8 year olds
• Kids Duathlon: 3km cycle and a 500m run for 7–9 year olds and 10–11 year olds
• Junior Duathlon: 6km cycle and 1 km run for 12–13 year olds, and a 6km cycle and a 1.5km run for 14–15 year olds
• Junior Triathlon Super Sprint: 400m swim, 10km cycle and a 2.5km run for 12–13 years and 14–15 years
• Schools Sprint Triathlon: 750m swim, 20km bike and a 5km run which can be completed as part of a team (age 12 years and up) or individually (age 16 years and up)