Olympic stars to face off at World Triathlon Finals in Abu Dhabi

Flora Duffy and Georgia Taylor-Brown among top athletes in action this week

Georgia Taylor-Brown, left, and Flora Duffy, right, at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. EPA
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An intense battle is on the cards when Flora Duffy and Georgia Taylor-Brown fight it out for the women’s crown in the Abu Dhabi World Triathlon Finals on Yas Island on Friday.

Duffy, the Bermudian gold medalist at the Tokyo Olympics, and Britain's Taylor-Brown, whom she beat for that victory, go into the final race of the world championship series with three wins apiece.

A similar scenario awaits in Saturday’s men’s event between Briton Alex Lee and New Zealander Hayden Wilde, who shared the podium with gold medalist Kristian Blummenfelt of Norway at the Tokyo Games.

Aref Al Awani, general secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said they are delighted to host the World Triathlon Championship Finals.

“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,” Al Awani said at the launch ceremony of the event on Wednesday.

“We wish all athletes competing the absolute best of luck and look forward to some incredible competition.”

From left, Stuart Leatherby, HE Excellency Aref Awani, Marisol Casado, Khaled Al Fahim, Hana Al Nabulsi, Sharon Bayon, Hayden Wilde, and Jetze Plat ahead of the upcoming Abu Dhabi World Triathlon Finals at Abu Dhabi Sports Council. Khushnum Bhandari / The National

At the finals, the top 10 triathletes will assemble in both the men’s and women’s elite races.

Marisol Casado, president of World Triathlon and IOC board member, said: “The excitement around the event as incredible and reflects the quality of the fields in places across elite, age group, and para categories.

“The world’s best will be in Abu Dhabi. We cannot wait to crown the champions here on Yas Island.”

Khaled Al Fahim, president of UAE Triathlon, described the World Triathlon Championship Finals as not only wonderful for Abu Dhabi, but the UAE.

“Our Team UAE triathletes will get the opportunity to compete against the world’s best, on home soil, which is an incredible experience. We will also have hundreds of community athletes competing on the same stage as the biggest names in the world."

Meanwhile, the world’s best para triathletes will go head-to-head on Thursday morning. 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 Paralympian Lauren Steadman, and Spanish four-time world champion in paratriathlon and Paralympic gold medalist Susana Rodriguez Gacio.

The three-day event has drawn 80 international federations, showing the incredible strength and reach of the sport.

The opening day on Thursday will see the World Triathlon Para Championships and World Triathlon Age-Group Super-Sprint Championships.

The Under-23 Championship takes place on Friday and Saturday is a bumper day which will see champions crowned across the Open Para Triathlon Mixed Relay, the Age-Group Standard Championships World Championships, and the Aquabike Age-Group World Championships.

Community triathletes are also expected to take part this week, with a kids and junior event on Friday, and age-group community races taking place on the final day.

Hana Al Nabulsi, UAE Age Group World Championship athlete, ahead of the Abu Dhabi World Triathlon Finals. Khushnum Bhandari / The National
Updated: November 23, 2022, 6:16 PM
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