The Tri Yas triathlon at Yas Marina Circuit was a happy affair for all, despite some tumbles and traffic delays.
1,000 athletes try their hand at Tri Yas
ABU DHABI // Yas Marina Circuit filled with swimmers, cyclists and runners yesterday as more than 1,000 people competed in the Tri Yas triathlon.
"The entire race was unbelievable," said Omar Nour, 34, an Egyptian professional triathlete who finished third despite tumbling from his bicycle.
Grinning, he added: "I think I have a rib contusion and potentially a fracture but hey, you just have a good time.
"Anytime you crash at 45kph, finish the race, manage the podium and are smiling afterwards, I'm happy."
First across the finish line was Faris Al Sultan, from Germany, with a time of 1 hour and 50 minutes.
The event included two distances for adults - the Olympic category, with a 1,500-metre swim, 40-kilometre bike and 10-kilometre run, and the shorter sprint category, with a 750-metre swim, 20-kilometre bike and 5-kilometre run.
Competitors raced in several heats throughout the afternoon and evening, allowing each ample space during the swim - held in the Marina itself - and the cycling course, on the F1 racetrack.
"I love it - it's iconic," said Olivier Godart, 37, from Luxembourg, who finished second. "When I think about Tri Yas, my heart goes 150 beats per minute."
Organisers added an extra wave to the race to accommodate latecomers delayed by a fatal truck accident on the Dubai-Abu Dhabi motorway that backed up traffic for miles.
Belinda O'Leary, 30, a Dubai resident from Australia, arrived just in time to compete in the Olympic category.
"I was so anxious," she said, explaining that she was delayed 40 to 50 minutes by the crash.
"We left at 12.30pm and the traffic was well backed up then," she said. "We got diverted and had to go on another road."
Friends traveling to the triathlon later in the day were delayed for two hours, she said.
Despite the tough start, Ms O'Leary said she felt she had done well.
"It was my first Olympic and I'm really pleased with how it went," she said. "The course is really good."