Three new faces have been added to Team Abu Dhabi Triathlon, with the endurance squad looking to compete over four continents in the coming season. The addition of Australia's Peter Jacobs, Britain's Rachel Joyce and Jans Van Berkel of the Netherlands will increase the team's options for 2010 as they aim to improve on a successful debut season. Last year, three of their athletes finished in the top 10 at the 2009 Ironman World Championship in Hawaii and Team Abu Dhabi expect a strong showing at the inaugural Abu Dhabi International Triathlon (ADIT) next month, with all seven members set to compete. The team captain and 2005 Ironman world champion Faris Al Sultan is pleased by the qualities the new additions will offer. "We have nearly doubled the team for 2010, bringing in Jacobs, Joyce and Van Berkel, which gives us so many more options going forward," he said.
"We are now a far more balanced, international team and broadened our competition scope for events in the USA , Europe, Australia and the Middle East. "The added depth-of-squad means we can compete in more mainstream events and have an added talent pool to utilise, both in terms of event strength and in training. It also gives us an added advantage in ADIT as we will be challenging for top honours in the male and female events." Peter Jacobs, who finished eighth in Hawaii, is widely acknowledged as the sport's best swimmer and has demonstrated his quality with five top-five Ironman finishes and several Half-Ironman victories. The 31-year-old Rachel Joyce secured two victories, two third-place finishes and an impressive sixth place at the World Championships last year.
Van Berkel is a short-course expert and he expects to qualify for the London Olympics in 2012 after performing well on the ITU circuit last year. ADIT organisers expect to attract a strong field which will include the world's top fifty but Al Sultan is cautiously optimistic about his team's chances. "The line-up for the ADIT is likely to be one of the best we'll see in 2010, which speaks volumes about the event and the efforts of Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority," he said. "There is no doubt this will be one of the most intense competitions we'll be a part of this year. We've given ourselves every chance, and it is always motivating to be racing in a destination which has given you so much."