A new league launched by the UAE Triathlon Federation will provide both Emiratis and expatriates an opportunity to compete under the country’s flag.
The first of the eight-race UAE Triathlon League takes place at the Hudayriat Island in Abu Dhabi on October 1, and will be followed by races in Ajman (Oct 2), Dubai-Al Mamzar (Oct 23), Fujairah (Nov 12), Sharjah (Nov 13), Ghantoot (Nov 20), Ras Al Khaimah (Jan 15) and Dubai-Al Mamzar (Mar 12).
“The top five results of each triathlete will go into the ranking and they will have the opportunity to represent the UAE at international competitions,” Warren van der Merwe, managing director of Super Sports, told The National during the launch ceremony at Abu Dhabi Sports Council on Tuesday.
“We estimate to have around 400-500 UAE residents and locals participating in the league. To get an opportunity to compete under the UAE flag is fantastic.”
Super Sports will organise five races and Endurance the remaining three, all sanctioned by the UAE federation. There are various categories for the participants to choose from - men, women and juniors; adults from age groups 20-24 years, 25-29, 30-34 and all the way up to 60.
They will compete across four different trips that also include Olympic and sprint distances. Those wishing to take part will have to register with the federation.
Abdulla Al Fahim, president of UAE Triathlon Federation, described the league as a unique opportunity to encourage expatriates to compete with locals and foster greater participation and stronger competition.
“Triathlon is primarily an expatriate sport and a new sport in this part of the world,” he said.
“We have hosted several editions of the World Triathlon series and next month we are hosting the World Championship Finals. We obviously want to see triathletes competing under the UAE flag.
“The federation’s league is just the beginning and we hope to build on this to have our own presence in the World Triathlon series in the foreseeable future.”
Al Fahim added the main aim of the league was to promote the sport throughout the emirates.
“The triathlon league is certainly going to help us draw more people of all ages and levels. The objective is to create a culture and from that to build an elite group.
“The sport is catching up with the participation of expats in community races conducted by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council. We would like to think the league will encourage the better ones to get even better with the opportunity of competing for the country in major races.”