The landmark 10th edition of Abu Dhabi’s favourite community event saw hundreds of competitors take part at Yas Marina Circuit
People of all ages and abilities were involved, including male and female professional triathletes
The Elite Sprint Invitational races were won by Ruedi Wild and Joselyn Brea
Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE February 24, 2020: The 10th edition of Daman Challenge TriYAS proved to be a major success as hundreds of competitors took part in the hugely popular day-to-night community event, including the highest number of Emirati competitors.

As ever, the world famous Yas Marina Circuit was the venue as the local Abu Dhabi community, along with many others from further afield, came together to test their bodies to the limit in an event made up of three separate disciplines – swimming, cycling and running.

With Daman Challenge TriYAS open to all ages and abilities, there were various categories and distances in which athletes were able to compete, including Olympic and Sprint, while children were also able to take part in various age-based races. This year saw the highest number of youth entrants since the event began.

The overall quality of the event was once again enhanced by the involvement of the Profield, with male and female professional triathletes going head-to-head in the Abu Dhabi sunshine. Many of those involved were local athletes, but there were also a few competitors who had flown in from around the globe in order to take part, including Ruedi Wild, who won two races on the day, and Pauline De Groof. Susana Gacio, meanwhile, was one of the paratriathletes taking part having recently secured qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

Personal challenges, whether that meant completing the event for the first time, improving on last year’s time, or something else entirely, were met over the course of what was a fun-packed event as the community came together for a healthy, active and inspirational day.

The Tri with Rio element of the event saw competitors pay a fee to complete the challenge alongside Team Angel Wolf, led by Nick Watson and his son Rio, who suffers from Q44 Deletion De Novo, a condition which means the 16-year-old struggles to walk and can only communicate using sign language.

Members of the community joined Team Angel Wolf out on the circuit and undertook various aspects of the triathlon, while also having the opportunity to push Rio for part of the distance.

There were no shortage of supporters on hand to cheer on those brave enough to take on the challenge, and the spectators were able to take advantage of some fantastic activations, as well as a number of food and beverage outlets, as they watched all of the action unfold at close quarters.

Al Tareq Al Ameri, Yas Marina Circuit CEO, said: “Once again huge numbers have turned out for this event, which is always extremely popular with the local community, and the fact this was the 10th edition of Daman Challenge TriYAS just goes to show how much it has continued to grow year on year.

“I would like to offer my congratulations to everybody who took part because, make no mistake, this is a very difficult challenge across three separate disciplines, a huge test both physically and mentally. The participants deserve a great deal of credit for their efforts.

“With young children, adults, paratriathletes and professionals all involved, Daman Chellenge TriYAS is a truly inclusive event for all ages and abilities, and we hope this event will encourage and inspire others to get involved next year.”

Commenting on the event’s success, Hamad Al Mehyas, Deputy CEO at National Health Insurance Company – Daman, said: “As a long-term partner of Daman Challenge TriYAS, we take pride in celebrating not only another successful event, but also the 10th edition of one of Abu Dhabi’s favourite community events. Year on year, we have seen triathlon grow to be one of the most popular community-based sports; drawing in individuals from a variety age groups and abilities, with more people of determination, children and amateurs signing up to participate.”

 Al Mehyas added: “Daman Challenge TriYAS is exemplary of what Daman strives to achieve in its broader social strategy of encouraging everyone to lead a healthy, active lifestyle.”

Wild, from Switzerland, secured two victories on the day, winning the Olympic event in 2:01:35, as well as finishing first in the Elite Sprint Invitational, completing that particular challenge in 58:45, ahead of Filipe Azevedo in second place.

Nada Prouty, from USA, was the winner of the female Olympic race, with Leen Almasood finishing second, while Venezuela’s Joselyn Brea came out on top in the women’s Elite Sprint Invitational, with Sara Perez Sala coming in as runner-up.

Elsewhere, in the Sprint categories, it was Oscar Vicente Rodriguez and Ireland’s Deirdre Casey who earned the top spots, while the Super Sprint races were both won by athletes who train locally, with the UK’s Mark Agent and Belgium’s Thea Jannedothee crossing the finish line ahead of their rivals.

The inaugural male and female 1500-metre Open Water Swims were won by Mohammed Alhamadi, an Emirati, and Leyla Porteous respectively, while in the 3000-metre races Paul Totterdill and Lesley Norman triumphed.

This year’s event saw the highest number of youth participants across the three separate children’s age-group categories, and there were victories for Rowan Townsend, Isobel Charlier, Ignacio Maranon, Tia Aitken, Petr Barsoom and Jessica Slade, who all displayed fantastic qualities to come out on top in their respective races.

All in all, Daman Challenge TriYAS was a fantastic, feel-good event which enabled participants of all abilities to come together, undertake a serious physical challenge and cheer each other on, leaving them with a huge sense of achievement at the end of it all.