The ITU World Triathlon Series is returning to Abu Dhabi from March 5 to 7 on Yas Island.
Back for the sixth edition, it’s once again set to bring some of the best athletes in the world to the UAE capital.
As part of the ITU World Championship, the Abu Dhabi Triathlon is an important event for elite athletes looking to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The world’s top 10 male triathletes will compete in Abu Dhabi this year, whilst nine of the world’s top female triathletes will also be heading to the island.
In total, 180 of the world elite triathletes will be competing in the UAE capital this year.
Among the big names looking for key qualification points this year are double Olympic medalist Jonathan Brownlee and previous Abu Dhabi men’s champions Javier Gomez, Henri Shoeman, three-time winner Mario Mola and reigning world champion Vincent Luis.
In the female field, reigning world champion Katie Zaferes will appear alongside five previous Abu Dhabi winners, including Rachel Klamer, Andrea Hewitt and Jodie Stimpson.
Two-time ITU World Champion and Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Flora Duffy, is also set to return to Abu Dhabi after two injury-filled years.
The 2020 edition of the ITU event will also see the first-ever ITU Paratriathlon World Cup held as part of the three-day event.
A total of 70 para-triathletes will be competing across 12 classes including Jetze Plat, gold medalist at 2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games, and Martin Schulz, who took gold in the 2016 Paralympics.
Also participating at the inaugural event are Liisa Lilja, winner of the 2017 Edmonton ITU World Paratriathlon Series, current world champion Alexis Hanquinquant and PTVI World Champion Susana Rodriguez.
Local para-triathletes Abdullah Al Ghafri and Bader Abbas are on the waiting list and hoping to get the chance to represent the UAE at the event.
A sport for all
Alongside the elite races, there are also race categories for 3,000 amateur triathletes and junior triathletes.
Those who sign up to be a part of the event will get a unique opportunity to take on a similar course and on the same weekend as the world’s elite triathletes.
In 2019, a total of 2,600 people signed up to take part in amateur and junior events at the ITU event in Abu Dhabi.
For the first time this year, a new duathlon event will also be held with cycling and running, for amateur athletes that aren’t trained or confident about taking on an open water swim competitively.
Since its inauguration, amateur participation in the ITU event has increased by more than 50 percent.
The event has grown in importance both locally and internationally with many amateur athletes coming to the UAE capital as a destination to compete in the event.
In 2019 amateur athletes came from 55 countries around the world to take part representing a total of 93 nationalities.
Local representation has also grown, with Emirati participants having risen tenfold since the first edition of the event.
Looking ahead the event is set to get even bigger as the UAE capital is set to host 2022 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final, the biggest event in the sport’s calendar.
Various prices to register. Mar 5-7. Yas Island, www.abudhabi.triathlon.org.