Abu Dhabi Tri inspiring Shaikh Saqer’s plans for Bahrain race

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Delighted to be back: Shaikh Saqer's will be racing his second Abu Dhabi Tri.

A member of the Bahrain ruling family is hoping to draw inspiration from the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon (ADIT), as his nation accelerates plans to host their own elite-level event.

Shaikh Saqer bin Salman Al Khalifa is coming to Abu Dhabi this weekend to take part in the short-distance race for the second-successive year.

The 34-year-old got into the sport after being diagnosed with diabetes five years ago. He has since competed around the world, and in December was named President of the Bahrain Triathlon Association.

“If we want to do something in Bahrain in the near future, there is already an incredibly high bar set in the region by Abu Dhabi,” he told Sport360°. “We are currently in advanced talks with sports organisers and companies. The plan would be to hold a race that would occur each December.”

For the third-successive year, the ADIT is running a ‘Local Heroes’ programme, in which previous participants are challenged to bring on-board a first-timer.

Shaikh Saqer was the first to confirm his spot in the 2014 initiative, and has enlisted Bahraini amateur May Al Haji.

He said: “I wanted to bring someone who would inspire people. She [Al Haji] is a mother of two, who is into sport and has just finished her first marathon. Her entry will hopefully get Arab females into the triathlon. It helps send out a positive message to the region.”

Shaikh Saqer has especially fond memories of last year’s ADIT race, and was determined not to miss out on Saturday’s competition.

“When I finished last year, I said to myself I do not want to miss this race again,” he said. “I have been around the world, but to do one in a country close to my own, and which speaks the same language as I do, has a different feel. It was like a party inside my own house.”

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