Abu Dhabi triathlon team set sights on big events

ABU DHABI — Three members of Abu Dhabi Triathlon Team’s crack endurance squad will separately vie for podium places at a hat-trick of European events over the weekend – the ITU World Championships London, the Antwerp Ironman 70.3 and the Ironman Zurich in Switzerland, a press release said.

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Published: Sat 24 Jul 2010, 12:53 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 2:04 AM

Jan van Berkel — winner of this year’s inaugural Abu Dhabi International Triathlon short course, who just completed an impressive campaign in Hamburg — will continue his push for a 2012 Olympics berth as he tackles the tough London-leg of the ITU World Championships. Van Berkel finished 18th at last year’s event.

“London will be the short distance race with the strongest field this year. On course towards the Olympic Games of 2012, my goal in London is again to collect as many Olympic qualification points as possible. A top-20 result at a world-class event such as this will be my objective. At the moment, although I have a qualification slot for the Olympics, the qualification period is a long one with many races involved,” said Dutchman Van Berkel.

Set to take place at Hyde Park, the ITU World Championship London will have some of the world’s best elite athletes and over 3,000 age groupers, including defending World Champion Alistair Brownlee of the UK, who is looking to repeat his 2009 victory.

In Antwerp, Abu Dhabi’s Rachel Joyce, will be competing in her first triathlon after fully recovering from an injury she suffered during the inaugural Abu Dhabi International Triathlon in March. Two weeks ago, she placed 4th at the UK national time trial championships.

“The recovery went quite well and I started training two months ago. After some swim and cycling races, I feel prepared for Antwerp. This event will be a good test over all three disciplines and I’m hopeful of finishing among the top five,” said Joyce, who had a number of strong Ironman finishes in 2009.

The 2010 Antwerp Ironman 70.3 boasts a tough field of endurance athletes comprising 40 different nationalities, including Belgium’s hometown favourites and defending champions, Sofie Goos in the ladies category and top male, Marino Vanhoenacker, winner of the past three editions.

Following his disappointment at the Challenge Roth event, where a series of bike tyre failures caused him to drop out of the race, Team Abu Dhabi’s Swen Sundberg intends to put to good use his Roth training and preparation in Ironman Zurich. “I was in a good shape in Roth, which made it even more disappointing to have to drop out of the race,” Sundberg said.

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