Friday, 03 December 2021 12:10 GMT

Elite triathlon event returns to Doha after fifteen years QNB Asia Triathlon Cup


(MENAFN- Gulf Times) Qatar Triathlon Federation this Friday will host the first elite level triathlon race to be held in Qatar since the Asian Games in 2006. As part of the Continental Cup Series, World Triathlon's elite athletes are competing for a prize pot of $20,000 and to earn ranking points to compete in the Continental Championships.
Fifty-three competitors from 18 nations will come to Doha, with athletes representing countries as diverse as Colombia, Ireland and Taipei. The largest squads will come from Japan (14 athletes), Taipei (8 athletes), Qatar and the United Kingdom (each 5 athletes).
The stunning modern cityscape of Lusail Marina is the venue where athletes will compete over the Standard Distance: a 1500 metre swim around the Yacht Club, followed by 40 kilometres cycling, capped by a flat and fast 10 kilometre run around the waterfront, past the twin swords of the new and iconic Katara Towers.
Qatar will be represented by a national team who will be seeking to benchmark their development and gain experience at this higher level of competition. This will be their first elite racing and, while not expected to challenge for the podium, they will gain experience and raise Qatar's profile on the World stage.
Ebrahim al-Romaihi, who currently leads the Qatari cohort in the Qatar National Triathlon Series, expressed the team's excitement:“It feels great for Qatar to host such an amazing event – I can't wait to dive in! I'm counting the seconds before the start.”
The best placed local competitor is likely to be Aday Alvarez, representing Spain. Aday was runner-up in the Qatar National Triathlon Series 2019-20 and has competed at a previous Continental Cup.
Qatar Triathlon Federation is also taking a step up; by running the competition without the assistance of any outside organiser but building on experience gained from the World Beach Games aquathlon and Qatar National Triathlon Series. In preparation, they have put 25 local triathlon enthusiasts through World Triathlon's Technical Official training, and they will be joined by five experienced overseas officials appointed by the governing body. The event has been seized as an opportunity to develop expertise in this fast-growing sport in Qatar.
After watching some top-flight competition, Triathlon fans have their own opportunity to take part in a public race the following day. This will cover the sprint distance; each discipline being half that of the Standard Distance race. Over 250 local and regional triathletes are expected to test themselves or simply set the goal of finishing their first triathlon.
This milestone event is possible thanks to the support of title sponsor QNB, the largest financial institution in the Middle East and Africa. Yousef Ali Darwish, General Manager of QNB Group Communications, said:“We are delighted to say that this iconic race will be one of the top sport activities in our agenda this year and we are delighted to be part of it, providing every possible support in welcoming the world's triathlon champions to a unique sport experience in Doha.”
Dr Mohamed al-Kuwari, president of Qatar Triathlon Federation captured the mood of the organisers and triathlon public alike, saying:“We are very excited to host this event. The amazing venue of Lusail will provide a great environment for athletes to compete and enjoy modern Qatar. I welcome everyone and wish a great time for all.”
Qatar Triathlon Federation's Secretary-General, Thani al-Zarraa, reflected not only on this milestone for the sport in Qatar but also the return of competitors from neighbouring countries.“It's great to have international events back again after a long absence. This one is even more special as it has all the GCC participating in elite and age group. This will raise the level of competition,” he said
Fatima al-Ghanim, a board member of Qatar Triathlon Federation added:“It is really important to bring international triathlon to Qatar. Not only does it showcase our facilities to the world, but it inspires us all to another level – our top athletes, our youth, the age group triathletes and, hopefully, many of the spectators will want to be on the start line next time.”
Asia Triathlon President Justin Sukwon Park, thanked Qatar Triathlon Federation, also saying:“I am sure that Doha is one of the best venues to enjoy Triathlon and this race will be one of the biggest triathlon events in Asia. This is also important race for the athletes who have been dreaming of becoming Asia champion at the Asian Games 2022 Hangzhou next year”
The QNB Asia Triathlon Cup, Doha 2021 is supported by event title sponsor QNB, event partners Qatari Diar, NTT, Rayyan Water, Sports Corner and Rasen Sports and institutional partner Qatar Olympic Committee.

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