Saturday saw a record-breaking 330 children from schools across Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Al Ain take part in the season opening of the Junior Aquathlon.
In its fourth year, the popular Abu Dhabi Junior Aquathlon, presented by Daman’s ActiveLife, saw young participants from ages of 4 – 18 years take to the calm waters of Al Bateen Beach.
Organized by Gulf Multi Sports and sponsored by Daman’s ActiveLife, a National Health Insurance Company – Daman’s health and fitness initiative, the Aquathlon facilitated five category races, namely the Super Sprint, Junior Competitive, Junior Splash and Dash, the Tiny Tri Event, and the Beach Blast.
This season’s opening event offered a new, exciting category called the Beach Blast, giving the much younger athletes a chance – most accompanied by a parent – to run through the shallow waters of the beach and sprint back on the sand to the enthusiastic applause of family and friends.
Junior athletes in the Super Sprint, Junior Competitive, and Junior Splash and Dash took to the protected waters of the Al Bateen Public Beach, sprinting into the ocean for a swim, ranging from 50m to 375m.
Following the successful swim, the children continued on, running along the beachfront pathways with distances ranging from 100m to 2.5km culminating in a final sprint to the finish line.
With multiple awards handed out to the winners of the categories, nobody went home empty handed, with all participants crossing the finish line receiving a medal and a participation gift.
School Awards went to Al Rabeeh Academy (1st), Raha International School (2nd) and British School Al Kubairat (3rd) for highest participation from a school.
While the top Athletics Achievement awards were spread across a breadth of schools – Raha International (1st), Lycee Louis Massignon (2nd) and British School Al Khabairat.
There were some outstanding individual performances of the morning, with Pauline De Groof from Raha International school taking first place in the Super Sprint female category and fastest overall in a time of 17m50sec, while Roughan Gaetz (Raha) won the male Super Sprint male category in a great time of 18m 43 seconds.
The Junior competitive race was won by Jude Roberts (BSAK) and Charlotte Navratil (Brighton) in Under10 category, Ralph Feghali from Lycee Louise Massignon and Aasiyah Ssennyonjo Brighton College Al Ain in Under 12 category and Mawarn Ferreira from Lycee Louise Massignon and Christelle Feghali of Lycee Louise Massignon in the Under 14 category and in the over 14’s the winners were Finlay Mackenzie of British School Al Khubairat and Yara Feghaly from Lycee Louise Massignon.
The Stand out event of the day was the newly established Beach Blast, a 50m wade through the water before a 150m beach sprint featuring over 60 students from Al Rabeeh School and Academy and the family favorite Tiny Tri featuring over 100 children between the ages of 4 and 8 years.
Steve Watson, Managing Partner of Gulf Multi Sport, said: “We are very excited to see the increase in participation and popularity of the event, with such a wonderful broad and diverse range of ages and nationalities.
There were so many spectators that came to support friends and family, with many first time young athletes. How wonderful to see such a tremendous growth in health and fitness in the youth of the region.
We look forward to seeing more children join the Abu Dhabi Junior Aquathlon series. Thank you to Al Bateen Public Beach for hosting this year’s race with a record high number of entries; and to our valued partners Daman’s ActiveLife, Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Abu Dhabi City Municipality, Al Ain Water and National Ambulance. ”
Dr. Sven Rohte, Chief Commercial Officer at Daman, said: “The number of participants is truly impressive. For the past three years, we have witnessed with excitement how this event has grown into one of the key family fitness events in Abu Dhabi. The series is a perfect training ground for the more challenging TriYAS by Daman’s ActiveLife which caters to different age groups and abilities as well. I hope to see many of today’s participants joining me in that event too.”
25 November 2017 and 10 February 2018 will see the second and third races of the Abu Dhabi Junior Aquathlon series, returning to the popular Al Bateen Beach.