Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Faris al Sultan in action in last year’s Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.
Faris al Sultan in action in last year’s Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.

Al Sultan leads capital's team in toughest test

Al Ain-based triathlete won in 2005 and while injury problems have hurt his chances, he says 'you never know how the race will go'.

Faris al Sultan, the Al Ain-based triathlete, will spearhead the four-strong Abu Dhabi team at the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii tomorrow. 

Al Sultan won the World Championship in 2005 and finished in third place in 2004 and 2006. The German is the founder of the Team Abu Dhabi Triathlon and he will captain a quartet that features Australia's Pete Jacobs, Germany's Andi Bocherer and the UK's Rachel Joyce. The event includes a 3.8km swim, a 180km bike ride and a 42km run.

After suffering a stress fracture at the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon in March, al Sultan, 32, is not over-confident. "First of all I will hopefully arrive in Kona without any health problems," he said. "So I think I can improve on my 10th place of 2009. "But you never know how the race will go. I'm not sure if I can repeat the victory of 2005 but my chances of getting under the top 10 are really solid.

"My running has improved, compared with last year and since I was only five minutes from top five and 11 minutes from first place in 2009 I hope to make up some places. My personal goal is a top-five result. Al Sultan has been preparing for the big event in California. "I started a good build-up in winter and spring in Al Ain," he said. "Unfortunately, I was injured in March. "I got back relatively fast after the stress fracture had healed but a seven-week break from running wasn't exactly beneficial to my training plan.

"Fortunately, I could swim and ride the bike. Two Olympic distance races brought me back into the game and they went well. My season highlight was winning the inaugural Ironman in Regensburg. "Last year I developed a training routine which I will also follow this year. Part of the routine consists of a challenging bike ride, as well as a long run with race-specific elements. "The uniqueness of this triathlon is that nowhere in the world is there a stronger starting field combined with the history and enigma of this event. Hawaii is 'the race' in long-distance triathlon."

Al Sultan plans to leave the island of Kona, where the event is being held, and return to the UAE to begin preparation for the Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge in December. "I will leave the island pretty soon after the race," he said. "It's not that I don't like it but I want to spend some time at home. "The following four weeks are recovery weeks and I will start to prepare for the Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge.

"After we had to drop out in 2009, the main goal is to cross the finish line. As running through the desert, mountain biking, climbing and canoeing are the disciplines, I have to practice some of them more, to get used to all the equipment." 

* Agency

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Manager Matt Williams benching star Bryce Harper, above, may have sent the wrong message to the rest of the Washington Nationals. Mike Ehrmann / AFP

Benching Harper sends Williams’s right message the wrong way

Matt Williams, the Washington Nationals manager, made the biggest move of his 18-game tenure on Saturday, benching rising star Bryce Harper for his “lack of hustle”.

 Players such as George Springer are a sign that things are starting to swing in the Houston Astros' favour. But more help is needed. Scott Halleran / AFP

Houston Astros are still earth-bound but help is on the way

As harbingers of a new era go, the Houston Astros could have done worse than misspelling their new phenom’s name on his major-league debut.

 Luis Suarez became the first Liverpool player to score 30 Premier League goals in a season since Ian Rush in 1987. Stefan Wermuth / Reuters

Sterling and Suarez inpire Liverpool to win over Norwich City

The win takes the Premier League table-toppers to 80 points from 35 games.

 Arsenal's Lukas Podolski celebrates his second goal during the Premier League match against Hull City at The KC Stadium in Hull, England, on April 20, 2014. Lynne Cameron / AP Photo

Arsenal maintain push for top-four finish with victory at Hull

Hull could end up in Europe regardless of the FA Cup final result if Arsenal finish in the Uefa Champions League places

 Ashish Nehra of Chennai Super Kings bowls to Kings XI Punjab at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Hard-hitting Chennai not deterred by opening loss in IPL

But some questions remain about the team's attack ahead of Monday's match against Delhi Daredevils in Abu Dhabi, writes Osman Samiuddin.

 Stanislas Wawrinka turned away fellow Swiss Roger Federer with a 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 victory at the Monte Carlo Masters on April 20, 2014. Julian Finney / Getty Images

Wawrinka backhands Federer aside at Monte Carlo Masters

Stanislas Wawrinka won the Monte Carlo Masters for the first time after rallying to beat Roger Federer 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 in a rare all-Swiss final.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National