x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

With record number of entries, Abu Dhabi Triathlon had many winners

Participants say fitness and competition are among the reasons they enjoy triathlons.

A competitor gets a little help cooling off after competing in the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon. A record number of entries, 1,855, representing 62 countries, participated.
A competitor gets a little help cooling off after competing in the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon. A record number of entries, 1,855, representing 62 countries, participated.

ABU DHABI // Aqbal Malallah showed it is never to late start take up triathlon as the 48-year-old Kuwaiti mother of three completed the sprint distance of the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon in what was only the second time she had attempted the event.

Malallah had only been competing for the past year and was one of eight Kuwaiti women to complete the sprint course of 750m swim, 50km cycling and 5km run yesterday.

"I have got my three sons to the universities and retired from my job, and now I have time to venture to a new sport to keep myself fit and healthy," Malallah, who completed the race in two hours and 25 minutes, said. "I have participated in a triathlon back home and this is only the second time.

"The sport is picking up in Kuwait and there are three clubs exclusively for triathletes. I decided to join them to train from last year and my husband has been very supportive.

"I was doing a lot of walking and also practice yoga. I used that fitness to train for triathlon."

The third staging of the event drew a record 1,855 entries from 62 countries, including the strongest line-up of professionals in the elite division for men and women.

Among them were also Torben Gregersen from Denmark and his German wife, Stefanie, who is an airline pilot for Icelandic Airways. They participate in triathlon events as a hobby and as a way to travel to new destinations.

"We have been in the sport for six years and enjoy the competition," said Gregersen, who finished 10th over the short course comprising of 1.5km swim, 100km cycling and 10km run. His wife took fifth place over the sprint distance.

An Abu Dhabi team running under the banner of Critical National Infrastructure Authority (CNIA) took first place in the sprint relay.

Othman Mistawi did the swim stage while Bader Al Hammadi and Yasine Amri tackled the cycling and running stages respectively.

"It is also our first time and we were competing to present our work for the CNIA," said Amri, who has previously participated in 5km, 10km and half marathons in Dubai.