Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi International Triathlon 2014 are introducing a $60,000 (Dh220,600) prize pot for the short course, further fuelling the competitive nature of the spectacular season-opener.
This year’s men’s and women’s elite short course will see Ironman 70.3 champions and ITU medallists unite in the quest to come out on top and take home the $15,000 first place prize at this year’s Abu Dhabi International Triathlon on 15 March.
Last year’s short course champion, Alistair Brownlee, will compete against his brother 2012 world champion Jonathan Brownlee, as well as some of the sport’s top triathlete’s in the men’s short course. Others to watch include two time ITU winner and 2004 Olympian Greg Bennett and professional Egyptian triathlete and UAE crowd favourite Omar Nour.
Commenting ahead of the event, Greg Bennett said; “This will be my first time racing at Abu Dhabi so I don’t really know what to expect, but from what I have heard the course is amazing. This year’s elite short course includes some of the world’s most-talented triathletes, including the brilliant Brownlee brothers and so it’s definitely going to be a challenging and exciting season opener.
“My wife, Laura is also competing in the event, in the women’s elite short course, and so we’ve both been pushing and motivating each other during training.”
Three-time British Duathlon champion Mark Buckingham, will also compete for a podium finish, hoping his bike and run prowess give him an advantage once out of the water.
The women’s elite start list is similarly strong with Greg’s wife, two-time Olympian and four-time ITU medallist, Laura, Australian multi ITU medallist, Annabel Luxford and five-time French champion and two-time Olympian Jessica Harrison, set to take on the championship course.
The Laura and Greg triathlon power couple are hoping for family fortune this year, with up to $30,000 up for grabs if they seize the top spot. Similarly, Luxford is a force to be reckoned with, competing in International Triathlon Union events for over a decade and continuing to improve her form year-on-year. In 2013, she placed third at the WTC Professional 70.3 World Championship and achieved five 70.3 podium finishes.