Abu Dhabi: An elite field, comprising of world’s top 10 male triathletes and nine of the top female triathletes will be heading to the UAE capital for the ITU World Triathlon presented by Daman next month. The event takes place at the Yas Island from March 5 – 7.
Around 180 elite triathletes and para-triathletes will be facing off for a highly contested series, ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Double Olympic medallist Jonathan Brownlee will be diving into the course on Yas Island for this year’s race, looking for key qualification points to fulfil his Olympic aspirations. His brother, Alistair, who has his sights set on a third Olympic gold medal, is currently on the waiting list proving just how competitive this field is.
All of the previous Abu Dhabi men’s champions – Javier Gomez, Henri Schoeman, and the three-time winner, Mario Mola – will be returning to the capital, alongside the reigning world champion, Vincent Luis. The triathlon will also welcome young talent such as Alex Yee, who came second in Abu Dhabi last year, at the age of 21, offering fresh challenges for established and emerging triathletes in this year’s field.
Speaking ahead of the event, three-time Abu Dhabi champion and three-time World Champion Mario Mola commented: “This is a big year for us all. I’m excited to get back on the blue carpet and see how competitive I am ahead of the Games this summer. I’ve always loved racing on the biggest stages, and Abu Dhabi is a particular favourite of mine, having won here three times. Winning again for a fourth time would be such an amazing way to start my 2020 season.”
Katie Zaferes, the reigning world champion and Abu Dhabi defending champion, will lead the pack among women alongside four of the five previous Abu Dhabi winners: Rachel Klamer, Andrea Hewitt and Jodie Stimpson. Triathlon legend, Flora Duffy, will make her return to the water at Yas Island, after an injury filled 2018 and 2019. She will be joined by the bronze and silver winners of the 2016 Olympic Podium, Nicola Spirig and Vicky Holland, showcasing the level of competition to be found this year in Abu Dhabi.
Duffy said: “Counting down the weeks to Abu Dhabi. It’s become the annual off-season goal that you keep visualizing. Being the first WTS race of an Olympic year it will be extra intense, with the best of the best toeing the line looking to make an impression. Abu Dhabi is a great course for me personally – a technical, fast bike course on the F1 circuit that enhances my racing style – and after crashing out the last time I raced here, I feel like I’ve got an agenda in Abu Dhabi!”