The International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Triathlon Abu Dhabi will feature a stellar line up of the world’s leading elite women when the season-opening World Triathlon Series event gets underway on Saturday.
The four fastest women of London 2012 – Nicola Spirig, Lisa Norden, Erin Densham and Sarah True – will be looking to continue their Rio 2016 Games preparations in the race on Abu Dhabi’s Corniche.
Lining up alongside the four will be American Katie Zaferes, the world No5, as she continues her quest for Olympic qualification with just one spot remaining in her nation’s Olympic team.
Zaferes will be looking to pick up maximum points in a bid to qualify to join compatriot, world No3 Sarah True, on Team USA in time for the summer games.
The 34-year-old True has already qualified for the summer games in Rio de Janeiro and will be competing in the Abu Dhabi race as part of her all-important preparations for this year’s Olympics. Zaferes, who finished second in the 2015 ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi, will be intent on starting her season well.
The 26-year-old commented: “I’m really excited to return to Abu Dhabi. I won my first World Triathlon Series medal here last year, which set me up for my best season to date. I’m looking forward to racing the event over double the distance this year.”
London 2012 medallists Spirig, Norden and Densham have surprised triathlon fans by confirming they will race against each other for the first time since the London Games almost four years ago.
London gold medallist and 2015 European Games champion Spirig, who qualified for Rio 2016 through her Baku victory last year, will line up at the Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club against her fellow London podium finishers silver medallist Norden and bronze medallist Densham, as they reignite their rivalry for the first time since their Hyde Park race in 2012.
Swiss athlete Spirig – who will become only the fourth triathlete in the history of the sport to compete in four Olympic Games when she arrives in Brazil this summer – will face stiff competition from Norden (Sweden) and Densham (Australia) who are both yet to qualify to represent their nations in Rio and will be determined to start the this all-important year with a win as they return from injury.
Elsewhere in the star-studded field, Jodie Stimpson, the current Commonwealth Games Champion and Norden’s training partner, will also be looking to make a strong return from injury over the 1500m swim, 40km bike and a 10km run in front of thousands of spectators in the UAE capital.
With only one spot left on Team GB’s Olympic Triathlon team, the 27-year-old Brit must finish well in Abu Dhabi.
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