It was business as usual for Alistair Brownlee on Friday as the double Olympic triathlon champion returned from injury to romp to victory at the Ironman 70.3 Dubai.
The British star, who underwent hip surgery last August, returned in style and was first over the finish line at Umm Suqeim Beach in a time of three hours, 35 minutes and 32 seconds.
The 29-year-old finished more than six minutes ahead of second-placed Swiss Sven Riederer and his compatriot Ruedi Wild who came home in third.
The Ironman 70.3, or half Ironman as it is also known, consists of a 1.9km swim, a 90km bike ride and a 21.1km run.
Speaking after his victory, Brownlee said: “Obviously it is so fantastic to be back after too much time spent at the gym in the past six months.
“I did not feel great on the swim, had a couple of bad patches on the bike but on the run I just felt great, I was in control and I actually really enjoyed the last 10-18km. I was just soaking it in and enjoying the cheers.”
. @AliBrownleetri takes a glorious win; Top 5 men: Brownlee 3:35:32, @MooveMee 3:43:06, @ruediwild 3:42:44, @maurice_clavel 3:43:11, @NickKastelein 3:44:22 – courtesy: Bahrain Endurance 13 #IM703Dubai pic.twitter.com/1coES5Fb0G
— IronmanLIVE.com (@IRONMANLive) February 2, 2018
Brownlee, who turns 30 in April, also recorded the fastest bike split in a time of 1:58:51.
He added: “I am so happy to back to racing and while I had some rough patches in between, it’s an amazing feeling to be here and win here,”
With Dubai being the first event of three in the “Nasser Bin Hamad Triple Crown” series, the London 2012 and Rio 2016 gold medallist is well on course to win a $1million prize purse if he also claims the two remaining events in Bahrain and South Africa later this year.
In the women’s race, Germany’s Anne Haug secured the title and beat Britain’s Sarah Lewis and 2016 Ironman 70.3 world champion Holly Lawrence to seal top spot on the podium.
Haug ran the 21.1km half-marathon leg in an impressive one hour, 14 minutes, helping her to catch up with and overtake Lawrence who was leading for a section of the race.
The 35-year-old veteran eventually came home in 4:00:25, nearly five minutes ahead of Lewis while Lawrence faded.
For Haug, who is a former short-distance specialist, it was her second victory in three Ironman 70.3 races – adding to the titles she won in Lanzarote and Bahrain last year.
It means, like Brownlee, she is well on course to win a triple crown of events if she can triumph in the remaining two races of the series.
Thrillseekers in the UAE can now experience the world’s longest zipline!
The brand new facility based in Ras Al Khaimah – which sees people travel at speeds of up to 150kph at a height of 1,680 metres above sea level on top of Jebel Jais mountain – is now open to the public.
The latest RAK adventure tourism product, entitled: ‘Jebel Jais Flight: The World’s Longest Zipline’ – has also won a Guinness World Record.
The official certification was handed to HH Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Member of Supreme Council and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, by Hoda Khachab, the official adjudicator from Guinness World Records.
Indeed, HH Sheikh Ahmad bin Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi was the first to trial the new adrenaline ride.
“This is a great achievement for RAK’s international tourism ambitions,” said Haitham Mattar, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority.
“We are now receiving our largest-ever number of visitor arrivals and are confident that Jebel Jais Flight: the world’s longest zipline, will earn RAK considerable recognition on the local, regional and global stage and propel the destination into the major leagues of global adventure tourism.”
He added: “The Jebel Jais Flight will become RAK’s flagship tourism product and will cement Jebel Jais as the adventure tourism hub of the Middle East. We are expecting to see an increasing number of adventure tourists coming from across the globe to try this bucket list experience.”
And now for some more facts.
Measuring at 2.83 kilometres – the equivalent to over 28 football fields, and spanning the chasm of Jebel Jais, the zipline also weighs more than six tonnes and has been in the planning for over a year.
Thrill-seekers will take to the skies and zip headfirst in a ‘superman’ style position.
The experience will see participants fitted with a special suit and equipment, with the flight itself taking approximately two to three minutes.
Once completed, guests finish on a suspended landing platform – unique in the world – where they are then transferred to a second line, measuring in at 1km, to complete their journey back to the ground.
There are no age restrictions on ‘pilots’ but the requirements are a maximum weight of (150kg) and minimum weight of (45kg) for ‘fliers’ who must be at least 120cm tall. The zipline is priced at AED650 per rider.
For more information and bookings, please visit www.jebeljais.ae.
Besides being the national bird of UAE, the falcon is a totem for Emiratis and holds a special place in their hearts for ensuring their survival in the harsh living conditions of the desert for centuries.
Even after years of technological advancements, the practice of falconry is preserved as a heritage sport and the success of the second edition of Sheikh Rashid Bin Humaid Falconry Championship was testament to the ever-growing popularity of this ancient sport.
The championship kicked off on January 27 in the Al Helio region of Ajman and was held in cooperation with the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center (HHC).
The second edition of this tournament witnessed an increase of 100 participants since last year and there was significant growth in the Juniors’ category of the tournament.
The contest was attended by HH Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ajman, and HH Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Head of Ajman Municipality and Planning Department, and the patron of the Championship.
He said: “This year’s championship has witnessed an increase of about 100 participants and two new events were added for juniors.
Every year we take the views of the participants and try to meet all their requests. We hope they will take back positive memories of their participation.”
During races, the falcons are timed over a distance of 400 metres and fly to the Daou, who can be heard calling it out in distinct voices while vigorously brandishing a bait made of pigeon wings to lure the bird in.
“The falcon is a tough bird to train, and we really have to baby this bird a lot in order to familiarise it with us. We need to train it night and day, so it can identify our voices, react quickly, and fly to us as fast and low as possible to get through the sensor gates and clock in the time,” said Shabeer Ahmed, one of the Daous at the championship.