Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince, and Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council the Challenge Dubai Triathlon (1st round of Triple Crown Championship) kicks off at dawn tomorrow (Friday), followed by Oman round next August and concluded in Bahrain in December 2015.
The tour, which extends to 113 km, includes three competitions: swimming, cycling and running, with $300k in prize purse. In line with the regional and global standing of Dubai city as a global destination for sports and recreation, especially at this time of the year, the number of participating male and female athletes has reached more than 800, setting a record in triathlon events. The participants include 110 professional athletes, led by Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the son of the king of Bahrain, who is strong advocate of this sport, which began to spread quickly in the region. The event also features the participation of the title favorite Gomez of Spain who boasts of four titles in ITU Championship, along with the strong contender of Germany, Michael Raelert, the Ironman European Champion, and Helle Frederikson of Denmark, the London Olympics 2012 Champion.
Participants gather in the Event Village near Jumeirah Beach Park at 04:45 am before the swimming contest starts at 06:30 am, followed by cycling and then running. The first three athletes are expected to finish the race at 11:30 and the award presentation ceremony will be held at 06:30 pm.
The swimming contest kick starts in batches from the area neighboring Jumeirah Beach Park at where the last batch will start at 08:00 am at a distance of 1.9 km before returning to the starting point.
Then the cycling contest (90 km) will move in the direction of Meydan, pass through Al Safa Park and Nad Al Sheba before moving to Al Ain Road, turning right to Al Aweer Industrial, University City, and Technical College, then heading towards Warsan area, and finally returning to the starting point at Jumeirah Beach.
Here are the areas where contestants pass and timings during which the roads will be occupied: Al Athar Street from 07:10 am to 09:00 am; Hadeqah Street from 07:11 to 09:03, and Al Meydan Street from 07:12 to 09:03, from 07:19 to 09:20; Nad Al Sheba Street from 07:25 to 09:31, and from 07:30 to 09:40; Dubai-Al Ain Road from 07:32 to 09:44; Al Manama Street from 07:35 to 09:49, and from 07:39 to 10:00 am; Academic City Street from 07:50 to 10:24, from 07:57 to 10:37, from 08:10 to 11:06, and from 08:17 to 11:18. The return trip passes along the Academic City Street from 08:17 to 11:18 am, and from 08:32 to 11:48; Al Manama Street from 08:39 to 12:00 pm, and from 08:53 to 12:31; Meydan Street from 08:55 to 12:33, and from 09:00 to 12:45; Park Street from 09:08 to 01:03 and back to Al Athar Street again from 09:10 to 01:10 pm.
The 3rd phase is the running competition for a distance of 21.1 km from the Transition Area in Jumeirah, passing through Jumeirah course towards Jumeirah Beach Hotel and back again to the starting point. Contestants are required to run this distance twice back and forth before the award presentation ceremony.
The Spanish champion Gomez is a top favorite as he boasts of great continental and international achievements highlighted by his four titles in ITU Championship, Triathlon Silver medal in London Olympic Games 2012, and 70.3 World Championship 2014 which he won two weeks later. Germany's Michael Raelert is also a strong contender who was the Bahrain challenge champ, Ironman World Champion 2009/2010, 70.3 Ironman European Champions in the following year. He found his best form after Bahrain Challenge 2014 and dominated races as evidenced by winning two 70.3 European titles and this year he has won Germany’s 70.3 Championship in addition to his third title at Challenge Walchsee.
Among the top male athletes is Andreas of Germany, Tim Reed from Australia, James Cunnama from South Africa, Eneko Llanos of Spain, Massimo Cigana from Italy, Jan Frodeno from Germany, Terenzo Bozzone from New Zealand, Luke McKenzie from Australia, Andy Potts from USA, Pete Jacobs from Australia, Bart Aernouts from Belgium, Leon Griffin and Brad Kahlefeldt from Australia, Ritchie Nicholls from GB, Rasmus Petreaeus from Denmark, Paul Ambrose from Australia, and Till Schramm from Germany.
The women contest is led by Helle Frederikson, Champion of 2012 London Olympics, Challenge Bahrain, and 2014 Hy-Vee. Participants also include competitors from Europe and America such as Jodie Swallow & Annabel Luxford from Great Britain, Melissa Haulschildt from Australia, Caroline Steffen from Switzerland, Camilla Pedersen from Denmark, Meredith Kessler from the USA, Daniela Ryf from Switzerland, Yvonne van Vlerken from Netherlands, Leanda Cave from Great Britain, Michelle Versterby from Denmark, Heather Wurtele from Canada, and AnjaBeranek & Eva Wutti from Germany.
$300k for winners
The Organizing Committee of Challenge Dubai set a prize purse of 300,000 USD, rendering it the richest in this sport which is quickly and successfully making its way in the region. Each winner will be taking home $65,000 and the remaining breakdown is as follows: 2nd – $35,000, 3rd – $20,000, 4th – $9,000, 5th – $6,000, 6th – $5,000, 7th– $4,000, 8th – $3,000, 9th – $2,000, 10th – $1,000.
The award is evenly split between men and women with special commemorative awards dedicated to citizens who take the top three ranks in addition to offering similar awards to 9 age groups for men and women starting from the age of 18 to 60 and above. Similar cups will be given to teams: 20 for men, 8 for women and 24 for the mixed teams. The running contest feature the participation of the English athlete Rio from the special needs category in a bit to encourage companies and individuals to donate money to Rich Rio Charity Organization in preparation for holding the Disabled Ceremony at Zaabeel Park on 21 March 2015.
Triple Crown champion
The Triple Crown Series encompassing Challenge Dubai, Challenge Oman and Challenge Bahrain, offers the male and female athlete that wins all three events USD 1 million dollars.
The Event Village contains several tents: one is designated for registering participants and another tent for hosting other events such as the induction meeting. There is also a media tent fitted with various communication means to facilitate reporters’ mission and ensure successful media coverage of event. Other tents are designated for event sponsors, and the Transition Area where participants can change their clothes when transiting from swimming to cycling and running contests.
The Village also has an exhibition where triathlon sports products are sold, a grandstand and large screen so that spectators can watch all contests through Dubai Sports Channel, which will broadcast the event live. In addition, the village contains 5 public restaurants; and will also host the closing and trophy presentation ceremonies.