Triathlon Gains Popularity In The Middle East

Over 50 athletes from Qatar have signed up for the third annual Abu Dhabi International Triathlon.

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A record-breaking number of GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council) athletes, including over 50 athletes from Qatar, have signed up for the third annual Abu Dhabi International Triathlon to be held this March, with a leading expert saying the demand signals a paradigm shift in the growing popularity of endurance athletics in the region.

Nearly 1,000 athletes from around the GCC, almost 50 percent of total spots available, have registered for the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA)-organised event on March 3.

According to Abu Dhabi Triathlon Team manager Dr. Werner Leitner, the steady growth of GCC-based triathletes is no surprise given the increasing grass roots infrastructure coming on-stream, which is being bouyed by flagship events such as the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon. In addition, the vast mountain terrains and picturesque coastlines found throughout Qatar and the wider GCC region, combined with the cool winter climate, offer some of the world’s best training conditions.

“Triathlon, as a sport, is growing rapidly in the region as people have started to recognise the importance of healthy living and exercise,” says Dr. Leitner, himself an ex-triathlete.

“The Abu Dhabi International Triathlon has really made impressive strides in bringing together these like-minded athletes, and giving the region an international platform to showcase its talent and prefect winter training credentials.”

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PHOTOS: 2011 Abu Dhabi International Triathlon

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