Abu Dhabi added to 2015 WTS schedule

by Erin Greene/ITU

The International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Triathlon Series (WTS) – the world’s pinnacle triathlon circuit contested by the best Olympic competitors – is on its way to Abu Dhabi city, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Following a five-year partnership between Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC) and ITU – the international Federation for triathlon – the sport’s season opener will be held the UAE capital from 2015-2019 with next year’s event being centred in and around the city’s stunning Corniche from March 6-7.

“This is a partnership which represents a meeting of like minds in terms of ambitions,” said Marisol Casado, ITU President. “Abu Dhabi is a world class city and offers a fantastic combination of beautiful water and superb road infrastructure that is entirely suitable for a WTS event.
“In our talks leading up to the partnership it became apparent that Abu Dhabi wants to take its triathlon to the next level and expand the sport’s reach in much the same way as ITU is determined to progress the sport internationally.”

“The World Triathlon Series represents the ‘best of the best’ – like Abu Dhabi – with the sports elite competing in a 10-city circuit, all striving to become World Champion and qualify for the Olympic Games,” said His Excellency Aref Al Awani, General Secretary, Abu Dhabi Sports Council.

“We envisage a host of benefits emerging from this partnership. These include further positioning Abu Dhabi as a destination for world-class sporting events, additional destination exposure among an influential client base and encouragement of our own youth to join in one of the world’s fastest-growing Olympic sports. By implementing such objectives we are reflecting ADSC’s mission to work on the integration between sports and society in order to create a healthy and sportive environment for the community to achieve the plans, ambitions and expectations of the Abu Dhabi Government.

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“This partnership is a natural progression of the success the UAE capital has achieved over the past five years with its own Abu Dhabi International Triathlon, which was organised by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority and quickly attained the status of the world’s most glamorous triathlon attracting entries from Olympic and celebrity TV stars.”

This year, the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon, which was jointly won by the UK’s Brownlee brothers – reigning Olympic Champion Alistair and his brother Jonathan, 2012 World Champion – was contested by a field of 2,400, including Bold & The Beautiful leading lady Katherine Kelly Lang.

Around 2,400 age group athletes from 100 countries are expected to join the elite athletes in Abu Dhabi next March to compete over two courses; the ‘Olympic’ distance of a 1.5km swim, 40km bike and 10km run, or the ‘Sprint’ distance of a 0.5km swim, 20km bike and a 5km run. The event will and be headquartered at the Abu Dhabi Sailing & Yacht Club where a spectator-friendly environment including a 2,000-seater grandstand, a bike park, a ‘Friends and Family’ area, refreshment kiosks and a kids zone will be built. The elite event will feature a ‘swim start’ off the Volvo Ocean Race yacht pontoons on Abu Dhabi Corniche with the top 65 men and top 65 women on the ITU World Series rankings competing for line honours in the opening event of the 2015 season.

The World Triathlon series has an impressive media footprint which includes a global television audience of over 200 million via 900 hours of broadcast time in 160 countries. In addition, the Series will boast 10 television magazine shows, post-race syndicated international broadcast news feeds and LIVE web streaming of all Elite races and magazine shows to triathlonlive.tv subscribers.

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Iain Banner, Director of the event promoters Lagardere Unlimited Events SA, said: “It’s highly gratifying to have helped expand the ITU World Triathlon Series to include Abu Dhabi. We’re most grateful for the vision Abu Dhabi Sports Council has shown in wanting to bring a highly competitive world event to its home shores. The race venue is very special and will no doubt be a highlight for both the elite
and age group athletes that participate. We look forward to a long and successful relationship with ADSC and commit to delivering a premium experience for
participants and spectators alike.”

ITU also confirmed the dates for the World Triathlon London are officially set for May 30-31 and will again offer a sprint distance course. The Hamburg and Edmonton stops on the Series will also feature the fast and furious sprint races.

2015 World Triathlon Series complete calendar:

6-7 March – Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
28-29 March – Auckland, New Zealand
11-12 April – Gold Coast, Australia
25-26 April – Cape Town, South Africa
16-17 May – Yokohama, Japan
30-31 May – London, Great Britain
18-19 July – Hamburg, Germany
22-23 August – Stockholm, Sweden
5-6 September – Edmonton, Canada
15-20 September – Chicago, USA

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