Organisers of the ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi have announced details for an all new course layout for 2017 that will see the prestigious event move to a new home on Yas Island. The new venue is not the only major update to be made to next year’s world triathlon showpiece, which for 2017 will become a two-day event. 3,500 triathletes, including 120 of the world’s best elites, are expected to take to the streets, race track and waterways of the capital’s iconic Yas Island on 3 and 4 March to swim, bike and run around the region’s emerging world-class triathlon hub.
Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC), host partner for the third consecutive year, is looking forward to the new long-term partnership with Yas Island, which will see the World Triathlon Series event aiming to double age group registration numbers by 2019. Its ambition to attract 6,000 athletes in three years’ time would place Abu Dhabi in the top five cities on the ITU calendar in terms of participation. The ever-growing popularity of the sport in the region and around the world saw the ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi attract over 2,200 participants in 2016, with hopes for close to 3,500 athletes for next year’s edition.
“In a joint effort with stakeholders, we are continuously striving to create a sports culture that is in line with the Abu Dhabi 2030 vision of encouraging healthy lifestyle among people of all ages,” said His Excellency Aref Al Awani, General Secretary, ADSC. “Yas Island is the perfect fit for the ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi and the new venue will build on the competition’s success by helping us accommodate larger numbers in line with our objectives for this event. The 2017 event is expected to see a 60 per cent increase in regional and international participation with racers coming together to relish the first triathlon to take them around the picturesque wonders of the Island. We are looking forward to giving both participants and spectators a one-of-a-kind weekend experience filled with dazzling sights, world-class hospitality and state-of-the-art training facilities, specially designed to help triathletes acclimatise ahead of the World Triathlon Series season opener.”
Yas Island boasts a series of spectacular attractions, pristine beaches and some of the most picturesque sights in all of Abu Dhabi. The ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi’s move to Yas Island is expected to see local participation numbers rise, with more residents motivated to participate in the exciting sport and enjoy the chance to race on the same course as Olympic medallists and World Champions. Furthermore, the new venue is expected to be one of the most striking courses on the World Triathlon Series calendar next season and promises an unforgettable experience for both participants and spectators who will be able to cheer on their loved ones from more viewing platforms and vantage points.
“Thousands of athletes will test themselves against each other on one of the most iconic triathlon courses on the calendar whilst soaking up the breath-taking sights of Yas Island such as Yas Marina Circuit, home of the Formula 1TM Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix,” explains Race Director, Gary Marescia. “For elites, this will be one of the most scenic courses on the calendar but also a course that presents its own set of challenges. For age groupers this event is perfect for first-timers and seasoned athletes, who are looking for an unbeatable experience this New Year, rubbing shoulders with the world’s top triathletes.”
Elite triathletes will start their race with a two-lap swim out of Yas Marina, flanked by the iconic Yas Viceroy hotel. The next leg will comprise a technical 40km bike course made up of seven epic loops around the island. Triathletes will make their way around some of Yas Island’s iconic landmarks including the same famed tarmac as many of the world’s top racing drivers, Yas Marina Circuit; Yas Links golf course, voted the ‘best course in the Middle East’ that runs along the coastline and Ferrari World, home of the world’s fastest rollercoaster to name a few. They will complete their race with a four-loop 10km run ending at the finish line on Yas Marina Circuit’s helipad.
The age group courses, coming in three different distances, are a slight variation on the elite course but will still give participants the chance to make their way around all of Yas Island’s stunning views. Organisers have created travel packages for all triathletes flying in from around the world to include a choice of outstanding hotels located on Yas Island, with access to all-encompassing training facilities, restaurants, entertainment and shopping.
To date, two of the world’s top five triathletes, Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic bronze medallist Henri Schoeman, and compatriot two-time Olympian Richard Murray, have been confirmed as the first in a series of star athlete announcements for the ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi’s world-leading line-up. As well as the elite race which welcomes 120 of the world’s top male and female triathletes, the event hosts an amateur race with a variety of course options to suit a range of abilities: Sprint (750m swim, 20km cycle, 5km run), which is the perfect starting point for beginners, Olympic (1500m swim, 40km cycle, 10km run) and Maxi (1500m swim, 80km cycle, 20km run). All options can also be completed as a team relay allowing each participant to do the discipline they are most comfortable with. The relay format makes the triathlon very manageable for first-timers, giving them a great introduction to the sport and the chance to enjoy participating with family and friends.
The event also sees the return of the Junior Triathlon - a fun event aimed at encouraging youngsters to get active. There are four entry categories for the 2017 edition, open for children aged 5 to 15 years: ‘Mini 1km’ – a 1km run for 5 – 8 year olds; ‘Kids Duathlon’ – a 3km cycle and a 500m run for 7 – 9 year olds and 10 – 11 year olds; ‘Junior Duathlon’ – a 6km cycle and 1 km run for 12 – 13 year olds, and a 6km cycle and a 1.5 km run for 14 – 15 year olds; ‘Junior Triathlon Super Sprint’ which consists of a 400m swim, 10km cycle and a 2.5km run for 12 – 13 years and 14 – 15 years.
Online registrations for the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi are now open to the public via the race website, AbuDhabi.Triathlon.org/Enter. Starting from just AED 450 for adults and AED 60 for children, race spots are expected to be snapped up quickly by keen triathletes and first timers alike.