SPO TRIATHLON Kristian Blummenfelt-1669221592199
Kristian Blummenfelt of Norway in action as he leads the group of runners during the elite men's competition at the 2021 World Triathlon Championship Finals in Edmonton. Image Credit: Reuters

Abu Dhabi: The world’s top triathletes are set to compete during the three days of elite, age group, para, and community competition of the World Triathlon Championship Finals in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

The event is the climax of World’s Triathlon’s annual calendar with astonishing fields assembled in both the men’s and women’s elite races. The world’s top ten athletes in both categories will be on display along with a host of Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European champions, in what is an almost unprecedented quality of field.

Along with the top ten athletes, the whole men’s podium from the Tokyo Olympics will be present including Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt, who won gold, silver medallist Alex Lee from Great Britain and New Zealand’s Hayden Wilde, who won the bronze. Wilde and Lee are now No 1 and 2 in the world respectively and are expected to feature heavily in the final championship reckoning.

Role reversal

On the women’s side, Bermuda’s Flora Duffy took gold in Tokyo, with Britain’s Georgia Taylor-Brown the silver. Their roles have now been reversed and Taylor-Brown arrives in Abu Dhabi with the No 1 ranking, and Duffy close behind in the race for the title.

The world’s best para triathletes will go head-to-head on Thursday morning, and all eyes will no doubt be on Netherlands’ Jetze Plan, who has gone undefeated in World Triathlon events since 2016. Other world-class para triathletes include USA’s Allysa Seely and Kendal Gretsch, Great Britain’s four-time Paralympic athlete, Lauren Steadman, and Spanish four-time world champion in paratriathlon and Paralympic gold medallist in paratriathlon, Susana Rodriguez Gacio.

Over 80 international federations will take part in the World Triathlon Championships Finals events, — showing the incredible strength and reach of the sport, as the Finals take place in Abu Dhabi for the very first time.

Prestigious event

Taking place on Yas Island, the women’s elite race will start at 1pm on Friday, with the men’s event getting under way at 3pm on Saturday.

Hundreds of community triathletes are also expected to take part this week, with a kids and junior event from 4pm on Friday, and age-group community races taking place from 10am on Saturday.

Speaking at the press conference to officially launch the event on Wednesday, Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said: “Abu Dhabi extends its very warmest welcome to all athletes, officials, and support staff who will be taking part in the World Triathlon Championship Finals this week. We are honoured to host this prestigious event, and we thank World Triathlon for giving us their trust to host a truly memorable championship.

“This further endorses Abu Dhabi as a growing epicentre for world sport having already hosted the NBA, UFC, F1 and world championship boxing in recent weeks.” Marisol Casado, President of World Triathlon, and IOC board member, said: “The excitement around this event is incredible and reflects the quality of the fields in places across elite, age group, and para categories. The world’s best will be on this magnificent stage in Abu Dhabi, which is befitting of the season finale. We cannot wait to crown multiple champions here on Yas Island, and we thank Abu Dhabi Sports Council, UAE Triathlon, and Daman for helping us deliver an event of this magnitude.”