Top triathletes looking at winning start

World champions Wild and Brownlee among top stars making comeback from injury today

16:21 February 1, 2018

Dubai: Star triathletes Ruedi Wild and Alistair Brownlee will be eyeing a perfect comeback from injury when they line up at their first Ironman 70.3 Dubai at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel (JBH) beach on Friday.

Set to kick off at 7am, the Ironman 70.3 Dubai has attracted more than 2,000 participants in three categories from across the world.

Swissman Wild, the reigning triathlete of the year and double Olympic gold medallist Brownlee are among the stars in the full field of professional triathletes lining up at the start on Friday. “The older you get, the harder it is to train for months without any goals in between. That’s why I chose Dubai. It’s a perfect date to see where you are in your training for the European season,” Wild told media on Wednesday evening.

“Personally, I changed my training regime from focusing on indoor bike sessions to cross-country skiing and I was surprised to see how well it worked in the last two years,” added the Swiss athlete who won the bronze medal here last year. His success continued as he went on to win the final race of the year at Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship in Bahrain. However, he could not finish the Ironman 70.3 World Championship held later in Tennessee, USA. “It was a pretty hard year considering the disappointment in Tennessee that was followed by an injury. It took me some time to overcome this, and hopefully Dubai will give me a fresh start to the season,” he added.

Brownlee is the other triathlete to watch out. Winner of the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics followed by a successful defence of his crown in Rio de Janeiro four years later in 2016 puts the British competitor as a serious challenger anywhere he goes. But the 29-year-old is taking part in his first race since undergoing reconstruction of his hamstring in August 2017.

“I simply live to race and haven’t had a chance to test my hip. I am confident it’s all healed, but four months can be a long time to be away from sport,” Brownlee said.

“It will be interesting to see where I am. In triathlon there are no shortcuts, so it will be a great test for me personally,” he added.

The race will start at 7am at the Jumeirah public beach where the transition zone and finish are also located.