Abu Dhabi’s journey to the World Championship Finals on Yas Island

Photo: World Triathlon/ Wagner Araujo

The venue for this November’s World Triathlon Championship Finals was announced today – it will take place on Yas Island, the site of the Abu Dhabi World Triathlon Series (WTCS) race since 2017. This year’s race is the culmination of 12 years of work for the Emirate country, which is the largest in terms of area of the seven emirates the make up the United Arab Emirates.

Abu Dhabi has been working towards hosting a world championship since 2010 when the inaugural Abu Dhabi International Triathlon took place. That longer distance race (the pros competed over a 3 km swim, 200 km bike and a 20 km run) featured high-powered pro field in search of a large prize purse from until 2014. While the event also hosted a “short course” (1.5 km swim, 100 km bike and a 10 km run) and “sprint” race (750 km swim, 50 km bike and a 5 km run), the focus was definitely on the longer race.

Then, in 2015, Abu Dhabi was able to become part of the WTCS, and the focus changed. For a couple of years event organizers hosted the race on the Abu Dhabi Corniche, which is where the original race had been held, but in 2017 the race moved to Yas Island, a popular leisure island that has hosted the Abu Dhabi Formula One race since 2009. That put the race right in the heart of one of the emirate’s most popular destination areas and also allowed for more participants. That opened the door to a bid for the Championship Finals.

The event in November will host five different categories: elite, U23, Elite Para, and age-group super-sprint and standard distance. More than 7,500 athletes are expected to compete at the event.

Team UAE

The UAE Triathlon Federation has also announced the development of a new team of age group athletes who will represent the UAE in age group races around the world. The team will be made up of UAE National and UAE-resident members. The first event the team will compete in will be the World Championship in Abu Dhabi in November.