Alistair and Jonny Brownlee lead stellar line-up for ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi
British brothers, along with the top 10 men and the leading nine women, included in field for Yas Island races in March
Double Olympic gold medalist Alistair Brownlee is headlining the ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi in a field that has drawn the top 10 men’s triathletes to Yas Island in March.
Joining Alistair in the top-quality line-up is his younger sibling Jonny, who took bronze at the London Games in 2012 and silver at Rio in 2016.
Along the top 10 men are the leading nine women for the opening leg of the 2020 ITU World Triathlon Series on March 5-7.
The men’s elite field includes all the previous Abu Dhabi men’s champions – Javier Gomez, Henri Schoeman, and the three-time winner, Mario Mola – will be returning to the capital, alongside the reigning world champion, Vincent Luis.
The triathlon will also welcome young talent, such as Alex Yee, who came second in Abu Dhabi last year at the age of 21.
Katie Zaferes, the reigning world and the defending Abu Dhabi champion, heads the women’s field.
Challenging the American are Rachel Klamer, Andrea Hewitt and Jodie Stimpson along with Flora Duffy, who is returning after an injury filled 2018 and 2019.
The field for the inaugural Abu Dhabi ITU Paratriathlon World Cup contains 70 spots, with 12 classes for para-triathletes competing in the field.
Participants this year will include Jetze Plat, who took gold in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games, and Martin Schulz, who took gold in the 2016 Paralympics.
They are joined by Finn Liisa Lilja, winner of the 2017 Edmonton ITU World Paratriathlon Series; Frenchman Alexis Hanquinquant, current World Champion; Spaniard Susana Rodriguez, who is also the PTVI World Champion; and Sebastian Engwald Jensen from Denmark who lives and trains in the UAE.
“I’ve always wanted the chance to race in front of a home-crowd for Paralympic points and now I will. It’s going to be amazing,” Jensen, who lost his leg in a boat accident and now races as a para-triathlete, said.
“As a para-athlete, we travel a lot and we don’t often have people that we know cheering us along, so I’m really looking forward to having my wife, my new baby and my friends in the grand-stands! This race is a key Paralympic qualifier event – so it’s all about getting on that podium. I’m going to give it everything I’ve got.”
Aref Al Awani, general secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC), described the line-up as “incredible” and beyond all expectations.
“With 2020 being an Olympic year, we knew that the elite fields would be strong – but this calibre of field is rarely seen outside of the Olympic and Paralympic Games,” he said at the launch ceremony at the ADSC headquarters on Wednesday.
“It’s going to be an incredible spectacle for those in the grandstands and the millions watching on TV around the world.”
Gary Marescia, event director of the ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi, added: “All World Cups and all triathlon events that are held up until end of May carry Olympic qualification points.”
Updated: February 5, 2020 03:23 PM