ABU DHABI // The organisers of the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon 2014 are introducing a US$60,000 (Dh220,386) prize pot for the short course for the first time including $15,000 for first place.
The short course, which is half the length of the full triathlon, will be hotly contested with last year’s winner Alistair Brownlee, the Olympic champion, taking on his brother, 2012 world champion Jonathan Brownlee on March 15.
Others to watch include 2004 Olympian Greg Bennett – a two-time winner on the International Triathlon Union (ITU) circuit – and Egyptian triathlete and UAE crowd favourite Omar Nour.
“This will be my first time racing at Abu Dhabi so I don’t really know what to expect but from what I have heard the course is amazing but one to respect with the heat and unique distances,” said Bennett.
“My wife, Laura is also competing in the event, in the women’s elite short course, and so we’ve both been pushing and motivating each other during training.”
Three-time British Duathlon Champion Mark Buckingham, will also compete for a podium finish, hoping his bike and run prowess give him an advantage once out of the water.
The women’s elite start list is similarly strong with Greg’s wife, two times Olympian and four times ITU medallist, Laura, Australian multi-ITU medallist, Annabel Luxford and five-time French champion and two time Olympian Jessica Harrison, set to take on the championship course, which has a total prize fund of $136,000, with $40,000 for both winners.
Luxford is a force to be reckoned with having competed in ITU events for over a decade. In 2013, she placed third at the WTC Professional 70.3 World Championship and achieved five 70.3 podium finishes.
“Ahead of the race I’m heading out to the Emirates to train and acclimatise to the weather to ensure I’m in peak condition for the event,” she said. “A podium finish would be a great way to kick off the new season.”
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