Egyptian professional Omar Nour has hailed the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon as the “Jewel of the Middle East”, after taking part in its record-breaking fifth running.
Nour, 35, competed in the shortcourse category in a meeting that attracted more than 2,400 competitors to the UAE.
Speaking to Sport360°, he enthused about the event. “What I saw today made me proud to be an Arab and proud to be in Abu Dhabi as it [the ADIT] was world-class on every single level,” he said.
“I usually race in Europe, the United States and Australia. So people usually cheer for everyone else except me.
“This was like a hometown race for me, which was amazing. It gave me a good feeling to receive support like that.
“It is truly unbelievable to see what was done here. The professional organisation makes it the Jewel of the Middle East when it comes to triathlon and events in general.”
Nour was speaking after coming home 15th in a short-distance race that saw him swim 1.5km in the Corniche’s waters, cycle 100km around Yas Island and run 10km along the East Plaza.
Joining him on the course were 10 specially-selected triathletes from the Gulf, who travelled to represent their countries as part of the Local Heroes Programme.
This initiative is designed to develop the sport across the region and drive participation in the event. Its success has been shown by the fact that the number of entries from the GCC region grew by 10 per cent from last year.
Take-up in the short and sprint distances were particularly popular amongst regional first-timers and amateur triathletes.
A 30-strong delegation flew over from Bahrain to take part this weekend, led by Sheikh Saqer bin Salman Al Khalifa, President of the Bahrain Triathlon Association and a member of that country’s ruling family.
“This is one of the most glamorous courses I have ever raced regionally and internationally,” the 34-year-old said. “I couldn’t help looking up on the bike and run leg to admire all of the iconic landmarks on the left and right.”
Know more about Sport360 Application