Today will see the first ever Middle East Triathlon take place. Held in association with the 15th Asian Games Doha 2006 where the triathlon will make its debut ...

By Mubashra Siddiqui (Staff Reporter)

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Published: Fri 15 Apr 2005, 7:26 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 5:58 PM

the event will see a challenging competition involving a 750-metre swim, 20-metre bike ride and a 5-kilometre run at the Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa.

"The sport of the triathlon has travelled a long way since its beginnings in the Middle East almost 10 years ago. There are 300 registered tri-athletes here in Dubai alone and this event has been established to meet the needs and the growing interest of athletes both locally and regionally," said Rory McRae, race director of the Middle East Triathlon who is also on the organising committee of the Dubai Triathlon Club. McRae added, "With the sport to debut at the Asian Games in 2006, this event gives athletes from the Middle East and Asia a great opportunity to race in the region and gauge their level of fitness and readiness for next year."

More than 250 competitors, comprising of 35 different nationalities from over 10 countries, have already thrown their support behind the race. "The first Middle East Triathlon will be the biggest triathlon event ever held in the region. We are delighted with the numbers and the support local and regional athletes have show in the event," stated McRae.

Besides the Middle East Triathlon Championship, a smaller event for juniors and beginners will also be staged. The organisers will also have a separate category for a Team Relay event with each member required to complete one discipline.

Another high for the event is the support given by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and the International Triathlon Union (ITU), the governing body of the sport worldwide whose rules and regulation the triathlon will follow. McRae stated, “The International Triathlon Union (ITU) has identified the Middle East as an area of development and will be present during the event. Their interest in the event further underlines the sport's rapid growth in the region.”

McRae's enthusiasm for the sport is unlimited. According to him, “The sport of the triathlon is one of the most gruelling tests of human strength, endurance and stamina. I don't think there is any other sport that keeps people as fit as what triathlon does. It's a passion that people become consumed by.”

A similar passion for the sport can also be seen in Roy Nasr, considered one of the favorites to win the event. Nasr, who was the first Arab athlete to complete in the Iron Man New Zealand Triathlon, said, "I enjoy the pain of this sport. It's a way of life. I don't think there is any other sport that keeps you as fit as the triathlon does...It's all consuming [and] takes a lot of time, dedication, and discipline [but] I guess I am addicted."

For Nasr, the Middle East Triathlon is one of the first steps in achieving his dream of representing his homeland Lebanon at next year's Asian Games in Doha. "That would bring me the greatest pride of all...There is a long road to travel between now and the Asian Games, but I am certainly going to train my hardest and compete in as many triathlons as I can to ensure I am a candidate for the Games and my dream comes true."

The Middle East Triathlon is being organized through the combined efforts of the Dubai Triathlon Club, Promoseven Sports Marketing and the Jebel Ali Golf Resort and Spa.

Middle East Triathlon - Race Day Schedule

6.00 a.m. Transition Area Open

7.30 a.m. Transition Area Closes

7.35 a.m. Pre Race Briefing

7.50 a.m. 10 minute Warning - Air Horn (Race 1)

8.00 a.m. Middle East Category (Race 1)

8.30 a.m. International Category (Race 2)

8.45 a.m. Team Relay (Race 3)

9.00 a.m. Children's Aquathon (Race 4)

11.00 a.m. Brunch Open in Hotel (Ballroom)

12.15 p.m. Presentation

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