5 Questions with Abdulla Attiya, Bahrain’s top triathlete

Ealier this month at the 5150 Subic Bay (Philippines), Bahraini triathlete Abdulla Attiya was the first age geouper across the finish line in 02:26:09 just less than 20min behind professional triathlete Sam Betten, his splits of 00:22:38 for 1.500m swim, 01:12:17 for 40km bike and 00:46:27 for 10km run, made him the 4th best swim split of the day.

The 18 year old student is the first generation of Bahrainis to enjoy the benefits of the recent investments by HH Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, who among several things to boost the health and fitness participation in the country, brought both ironman 70.3 and Challenge events to Bahrain and launched Bahrain Endurance 13, a professional triathlon team with some of the best triathletes in the world, including Jan Frodeno, Daniela Ryf, Javier Gomez and others.

Abdulla Attiya, first age grouper at 5150 Subic Bay
Abdulla Attiya, first age grouper at 5150 Subic Bay
  1. Can you tell us about your background in triathlon? Why did you started training and what motivated you?

I was an ex-national team swimmer before but to be very honest I never liked swimming and hated every single second of training due to many reasons. Although I used to run 5kms every now and then and one day I did an Aquathlon and surprisingly I won the first prize, so I decided to take the next step and join Triathlon.

What motivated me was some of the negative comments from people saying I wouldn’t be able to do anything, I’m very thankful for them since I used that for an extra push.

  1. What were your best results so far and what are the plans for the future, both short and medium terms?

Best results for me would definitely be winning the African triathlon union junior arab cup and going sub 2 hours in my first non drafting olympic triathlon.

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Short term goals would be TRY to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic games, which can be challening unless i can raise the funding needed. Medium and long term goals would definitely be moving towards the 70.3 distance and just aiming in doing my best there.


  1. Can you share with us a typical training week? What type of load do you do and which is your favorite training session on each discipline?

A typical training week would be starting the day by waking up early morning at 5AM, so I can make it to the pool and be in the water by 6:30AM. Once I’m done with the swim workout I would rest and do any other non training activity until 4pm which is when my second session starts.

I typically, swim every morning and in the afternoons I alternate in between running and cycling. Except fridays and saturdays where I go for long bike rides (the “weekend” in the Middle East happens over these two days).

  1. How’s the triathlon scene where you live? Do you train with a group or coach? How often do you have the opportunity to do races in the UAE?

The triathlon scene in Bahrain is BOOMING since HH Shaikh Nasser started to implement several programs to create more incentive to the sport. I used to train with a squad and under coach Vicent Bèltran, who recently left the national team so now things are a little all over the place and I’ve been training alone.

I always race in the UAE as flights are cheap and its always good fun being there, it also requires less time off school, but when possible I also race overseas, the most recent 5150 Philippines.

  1. You mentioned before seeing a big growth of triathlon in the Arabic countries – why do you think the sport is getting so popular? Can you list and explain the top 3 reasons for this boom

I think the sport is getting very popular in the Arab countries for the following reasons:

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a) Having the right ambassadors to represent our sport – HH Shaikh Nasser and Professional Triathlete Omar Nour as they do an amazing job in getting everyone active and healthy in the middle east.

b) More local races and kids races as it gives many other people the opportunity to race at a low entry fee and avoid the extra costs of traveling.

Thank you Abdulla and have a great season!


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