First ladies-only triathlon in the region is a big success, attracting more than 250 participants
Dubai, UAE, November 11, 2017: Her Excellency Noura Al Kaabi, the UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, has described the Dubai Women's Triathlon as a platform for “positivity and happiness” after watching more than 250 women of different nationalities cross the finish line in the first such event of its kind in the Middle East.
Organised by the Women's Sports Committee of the Dubai Sports Council in association with the Dubai Ladies Club, the newest addition to Dubai's sporting calendar got off to a successful start on Friday, attracting both triathlon regulars and first-time enthusiasts, including more than a 100 Emiratis, who were assured of complete privacy as no men were allowed near the swimming competition. Even the lifeguards were ladies.
“This triathlon is a celebration of being in a place that is inclusive,” said Al Kaabi, the guest of honour at the presentation ceremony at Dubai Ladies Club, after presenting medals to the top three in each category.
“You have many communities – Emiratis and non-Emiratis, and I am really proud of seeing all of them participating. It's the first event of its kind here in the Middle East, yet you can feel the vibe. You can also predict that we are going to have more participation in the future.
“This is an important platform for positivity, for also promoting happiness, promoting the quality of life. So therefore you can see all of the elements that we are working on from a government perspective - the community perspective and sports perspective are combined here to achieve such goals.”
H.E. Mona Al Marri, Chairperson of the Board of Directors and Managing Director of Dubai Women's Establishment, Moza Al Marri, Board member of Dubai Sports Council and Chairperson of DSC's Women's Sports Committee, and Lamia Khan, Chairperson of the Organising Committee, Vice Chairperson of DSC's Women's Sports Committee and Director of Dubai Ladies Club, were also present at the awards ceremony.
This being the Year of Giving in the UAE, the organising committee has decided to donate all the proceeds from the event to global philanthropic organisation, Al Jalila Foundation, to support women with disabilities and provide them with prosthesis.
“We at the Women's Sports Committee are really pleased with the great success in organising this first-ever ladies triathlon in this region and the participation of more than 250 ladies of different age and nationality,” said Lamia Khan. “The three-week pre-event camps were also a big success, helping lift the fitness of the ladies and giving them the confidence to participate in the triathlon.
“Those pre-event camps helped raise the number of entries. The enrolment increased over the last days as the ladies gained in confidence, training on the Dubai Ladies Club beach. The Women's Sports Committee aims to hold more such events and increase the participation of women in sports - women from every segment of the society, beginners or professional athletes.
“The proceeds from this event will go to a venerable institution to help women who have lost their limbs and give them an opportunity to live and exercise like other women.”
The Al Jalila Foundation was represented at the triathlon by three teams of three members each, one of them being Iraqi amputee Zainab Al-Eqabi, who lost her left leg in a Baghdad bomb blast and uses a prosthetic now.
“This whole event is amazing because I think the fitness industry is changing in the Middle East, particularly in the UAE and Dubai, where women are so encouraged to work on themselves, motivate each other, be fit and take care of their health,” said Al Eqabi, a well-known face on the public speaking circuit, who did the cycling section for one of the Al Jalila teams.
“With this event, women who have reservations about participating in mixed triathlons or competitions, they now have the chance to be there.
“This was definitely my first time and I didn't know what to expect, honestly, because I have never cycled this much in my life – only in the gym. So outdoors is a bit of a challenge with the weather, with the prosthetic, and, of course, with the bridge. It's really different.
“But this was not about winning. It was about participating. It was about representing an idea, motivating people and changing mindsets, and this is very powerful here in the Middle East.”
Deirdre Casey, a veteran of more than 50 triathlons over the past seven years, shared those sentiments.
“It was more about taking part today rather than actually winning,” said Casey, who clocked the fastest time on the Sprint Course and took the honours in the 30-plus age category. “So yeah, I am very happy that I competed today. This is the first time I have ever done a women's only triathlon.
“One of the nicest part was seeing so many women take part in an event like this for the first time. I think it is a great initiative because it just gives more opportunities to women here that, for some reasons, may not be able to do a swim. It's given them the confidence now to know they can do it.”
The Dubai Women's Triathlon was sponsored by Dubai Ladies Club, RTA Dubai, Arabian Radio Network (ARN), Dubai Police and Dubai Ambulance.
SHORT COURSE (1.5km swim x 30km cycling x 10km run)
Age 16-29: Marsha Yecla (Philippines) 2:28:56; Donna Christie (Philippines) 2:30:13; Airene Rosei (Philippines) 2:52:27
Age 30-plus: Svetlana Blazevic (Russia) 1:52:36; Lisa Hancox (Great Britain) 2:00:21; Lynette Wam (New Zealand) 2:05:51
Team: The Girls (Zimbabwe) 1:51:20; GRIT (Great Britain) 2:31:09
SPRINT COURSE (750m swim x 20km cycling x 5km run)
Age 16-29: Helen O'Neile (Great Britain) 1:04:23; Megan Elliott 1:17:47; Sofia Chudinova (Russia) 1:18:22
Age 30-plus: Deirdre Casey (Ireland) 1:01:08; Emma Deane (Australia) 1:08:27; Bianca Beisetzer-Clark (Canada) 1:11:17
Teams (UAE): Dubai Municipality-1 1:10:34; Team 52 1:24:20; ANAGOW1 1:28:15
Teams: Ladies Warrior (Philippines) 1:18:29; Burek Brigade (Russia) 1:23:16; Push the LIMIT (Philippines) 1:48:12
SUPER SPRINT (400m swim x 10km cycling x 2.5km run)
Age 16-29 (UAE): Aisha Al Metiari 50:57; Asma Al Janahi 53:53; Rona Salman 58:06
Age 16-29: Fiona Dutton (Great Britain) 43:08; Miriam Howard (Ireland) 47:40; Olga Zolotova (Russia) 53:02.
Age 30-plus (UAE): Nada Omar 53:32; Alison Round 56:04; Amani Mohamed Saif 56:20
Age 30-plus: Leanne Carson (Great Britain) 43:21; Islay De Nil (Great Britain) 43:32; Diane Gordon (Canada) 44:06
Teams (UAE): WonderWards 46:08; Dubai Municipality-5 46:19; Dubai Municipality-6 48:39
Teams: Vatikaki (Zimbabwe) 47:08; Super Woman (Egypt) 49:19; Super Sprinter CAV's (Philippines) 52:33