Abu Dhabi: After a stunning 2016 that saw Flora Duffy notch up three World Championship titles, Bermuda’s superstar triathlete will start her 2017 triathlon season in Abu Dhabi on March 3-4.

Duffy will join two of the world’s top five male triathletes in the UAE capital: Olympic bronze medallist Henri Schoeman, compatriot two-time Olympian Richard Murray on the all-new course on Yas Island where close to 3,500 participants are expected to take to the start line.

“Once again, the world’s top triathletes are putting Abu Dhabi on their must-race list,” said Nouf Ali, events section head of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, host of the ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi. “With reigning World Champion Flora Duffy on board, the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi is shaping up to bring a sensational race to Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island. Stay tuned for more exciting announcements.”

The 29-year-old Duffy, an ITU World Champion, XTERRA World Champion, and ITU Cross Triathlon World Champion in 2016, has been a consistent force on the women’s circuit since she started racing as a junior in 2005. Having won the ITU Series title for the first time last year, Duffy has put herself in pole position for the Abu Dhabi race this March: “The ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi was my first World Triathlon Series podium position back in 2015, so the race holds a special place for me,” she said.

Duffy who spent the off-season in Boulder, Colorado, continuing her preparations for 2017, added, “I’ve spent my off-season training in the snow in Colorado — so it’ll be a nice change to spend some time in the Abu Dhabi’s sunshine.”

This year, the ITU World Triathlon Series Abu Dhabi will become a two-day event for the first time. Three-thousand-and-five-hundred triathletes, including 120 of the world’s best elites, are expected to take to the streets, racetrack and waterways of the capital’s iconic Yas Island on March 3-4 to swim, bike and run around the region’s emerging world-class triathlon hub.

The event also hosts an amateur race with a variety of course options to suit a range of abilities: Sprint (750m swim, 20km cycle, 5km run), Olympic (1500m swim, 40km cycle, 10km run) and Maxi (1500m swim, 80km cycle, 20km run). All options can also be completed as a team relay allowing each participant to complete the discipline they are most comfortable with.

The event also sees the return of the Junior Triathlon — a fun event aimed at encouraging youngsters to get active. There are four entry categories for the 2017 edition, open to children aged 5 to 15 years: ‘Mini 1km’ — a 1km run for 5-8-year-olds; ‘Kids Duathlon’ — a 3km cycle and a 500m run for 7 — 9 year olds and 10-11-year-olds; ‘Junior Duathlon’ — a 6km cycle and 1km run for 12-13-year-olds, and a 6km cycle and a 1.5km run for 14-15-year-olds; ‘Junior Triathlon Super Sprint’ which consists of a 400m swim, 10km cycle and a 2.5km run for 12-13 years and 14-15 years.

Online registrations for the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi are now open to the public via the race website, AbuDhabi.Triathlon.org.

Starting from just Dh450 for adults and Dh60 for children, race spots are quickly filling-up and organisers are urging those interested to sign-up soon before it reaches capacity.