x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Al Sultan's confidence high ahead of Hawaii test

Faris Al Sultan said he hopes to be at his "absolute best" for the Ironman World Championship when he competes in triathlon's ultimate event in Kona, Hawaii, in October.

Faris Al Sultan said he hopes to be at his "absolute best" for the Ironman World Championship when he competes in triathlon's ultimate event in Kona, Hawaii, in October.

By winning the European Ironman last weekend in Frankfurt, Al Sultan qualified for the world championship race, which he won in 2005.

"I had pretty low expectations before this race, especially as I was still carrying the flu and I much prefer warmer race conditions than those we had in Germany," he said.

"This race has given me the confidence and flexibility to work towards being at my absolute best this October."

Al Sultan, who is the captain of the Abu Dhabi Triathlon Team, produced his best performance in years to win in his home country. He put up with heavy rain and strong winds to win by almost six minutes from fellow German Jan Raphael, a bigger-than-usual gap in this kind of endurance race.

He was strong in all three disciplines - swimming, cycling and running - as he powered his way to victory in a time of 8hrs 13mins 50secs.

Al Sultan, 33, came out of the water in second place, and then built up a solid lead on his bike, one he never looked like losing on the final running stage.

His was the second Ironman win for the Abu Dhabi team this season; the UK's Rachel Joyce enjoyed her first victory, at the Lanzarote event in Spain, with a wire-to-wire victory.

Joyce's win also secured her automatic entry into the Hawaii championships.

* Compiled by Neil Cameron