Dubai: Nearly 400 athletes took part in the inaugural Dubai Desert Triathlon at Dubai International Endurance City on Saturday.
The world-first event brought together the triathlon disciplines of cycling and running with the traditional Emirati heritage sport of endurance horse racing.
The event, a partnership between Dubai Sports Council (DSC) and Meydan, was branded a huge success, with the hundreds of participants and spectators.
Participants could enter as an individual triathlete completing all three disciplines, or as a team of two or three to complete the 5km desert trail run, 25km cycle and 40km endurance ride. Prizes were awarded to winners in the individual, teams, cycling and running categories.
The overall men’s triathlon was won by Shaikh Nasser Bin Hamed Al Khalifa of Bahrain ahead of teammate Mikel Calahorra, with Diego Bellon Santos in third.
“Today [Saturday] was perfect,” said Shaikh Nasser. “The organisation was very nice and I am very happy to have been part of this first-ever desert triathlon. I am very happy with my times, I did what I expected to do, it’s been a beautiful day. I hope this event gets bigger every year.”
The overall women’s triathlon was won by Maha Khalid, while Ines Pintenat came second and Sheelagh Pirzada third.
“I enjoyed today [Saturday] a lot,” said Khalid. “I am a professional endurance horse rider so had to train hard on the cycling and running, but today was very good. It’s nice to bring all these cultures together, I’ll definitely be back next year.”
First place in the junior triathlon went to Atiq Hassan Ali and junior and senior team honours were won by Al Barrari and Etihad Stables respectively.
Dr Ahmad Sa’ad Al Sharif, secretary general of the DSC, expressed his delight with the event.
“We are so pleased with how successful today [Saturday] has been,” Al Sharif said. “To see such a diverse range of people competing together and enjoying participating is wonderful. We are proud to have made history today [Saturday] and we look forward to seeing this event become one of the hallmark events on Dubai’s sporting calendar.”