Dubai: The Minister of Cultural and Knowledge Development has called upon women to celebrate life while using sports as a medium.
Noora Mohammad Al Kaabi was speaking to the media after the presentation of awards at the inaugural Dubai Women’s Triathlon held at the Dubai Ladies Club, on Friday.
Deirdre Casey of Ireland and Briton Leanne Carson topped the Super Sprint categories, Svetlana Blazevic of Russia aced the Short Course, and Helen O’Neile of Britain won the Sprint Course.
“For us, this triathlon is a celebration of life as women. It also shows that we are all-inclusive,” Al Kaabi said. “We are willing to embrace all communities and nationalities existing in the UAE. I am really proud to see all these women, especially the Emiratis, participate in something as unique as this first-ever triathlon in the Middle East. We can already feel the vibe that this event is going to be something big for the future.
“Going by the response, we can safely predict that this event will grow and we will have even more participation in the future. This event is an important platform for positivity, for the sharing of ideas and the promotion of happiness while pushing up the quality of life within the society that we live in. All of the elements that we are working on here, from a government perspective to a community perspective and to a sports perspective, all converge on this one big platform with sports as a medium in achieving our goals.”
The races were divided into three main categories — the Super Sprint (400m swim, 10km cycling and 2.5km running), the Short Course (1.5km swim, 30km cycling and 10km running) and the Sprint Course (750m swim, 20km cycling and 5km running).
It was women from European nations who dominated, with Deirdre Casey of Ireland and Briton Leanne Carson picking up top honours in the Super Sprint categories, Svetlana Blazevic of Russia taking the top podium position in the Short Course, while Helen O’Neile of Great Britain won the Sprint Course.
“It feels great to be part of something as historic as this event. Honestly, I was not expecting to win here as it was more about just participating,” Casey told Gulf News after finishing ahead of Australian Emma Deane and Bianca Beisetzer-Clark of Canada in the Super Sprint category for women over 30.
The Dubai-based accountant who took part in the Half Triathlon in Sardinia, Italy, last week was pleased that events such as the Dubai Women’s Triathlon give people a platform of expression. “And along with it comes confidence. I am glad I participated,” she added.
Great Britain’s Carson, who took the honours in the other Super Sprint category with a time of 43 minutes, 21 seconds was thrilled with her top spot finish for the first time in her triathlon career.
“This has blown me away,” said the teaching assistant from Dubai British School, Jumeirah Park.
“Dreams do come true and I would urge all women to participate. All one needs to do is set a goal and then go about achieving this goal through hard work and training,” she urged.
Carson’s husband Marc is also an accomplished triathlete, most recently winning the Oceanic Race in Khor Fakkan, while their eight-old son Joshua takes part in duathlons.
Super Sprint (30+) 1. Nada Omar (UAE); 2. Alison Round (Tri Belles Abu Dhabi); 3. Amani Mohammad Saif (UAE)
Super Sprint (16-29) 1. Aisha Al Metairi (UAE); 2. Asma Al Janahi (UAE); 3. Rona Salman (UAE)
Super Sprint (16-29) 1. Fiona Dutton (Great Britain); 2. Miriam Howard (Ireland); 3. Olga Zolotova (Russia)
Sprint Course (Teams) 1. Dubai Municipality 1 (1 hour, 10.34 secs); 2. Team 52 (1:24.20); 3. Anagowi (1:28.15)
Super Sprint (30+) 1. Deirdre Casey (Ireland); 2. Emma Deane (Australia); 3. Bianca Beisetzer-Clark (Canada)
Sprint Course (16-29) 1. Helen O’Neile (Great Britain); 2. Megan Elliott (Great Britain); 3. Sofia Chudinova (Russia)
Short Course (30+) 1. Svetlana Blazevic (Russia); 2. Lisa Hancox (Great Britain); 3. Lynette Warn (New Zealand)