MUSCAT, July 30 – Oman will host the iconic triathlon competition ‘Ironman 70.3’ for the first time next year. Muscat will host the inaugural 5i50 event in November as a prelude to the prestigious triathlon event on March 9, 2019, it was announced during the launch of the Ironman 70.3 in the capital city on Monday. The competitions will be organised by Ironman, a Wanda Sports Holdings Company, together with Triathlon Middle East, and supported by the Ministry of Tourism. The general registration for the events has commenced on July 26.
“Oman will be a perfect venue for the Ironman 70.3, it will be a whole new experience for the competitors and their supporters,” Stefan Petschnig, Ironman Managing Director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said at the launch ceremony at the InterContinental Muscat Hotel.
“This will be a milestone sports event in Oman with at least 250-500 athletes expected for the 5i50 and 600-800 athletes are likely for the Ironman 70.3. These events will also give a major boost to the tourism industry in Oman with the athletes bringing in their families and supporters for the five-day event,” Petschnig said.
The organisers are also exploring the possibilities of holding an Ironman 70.3 event in Salalah later next year.
“It will be ideal during the Salalah Tourism Festival or Khareef season which offers a great weather for the events. But we are still on the process of exploring the implementation part, which requires support from lot of quarters,” Stefan told Oman Daily Observer.
Dr Hamed al Aufi, Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, was the chief guest for the launch.
The first event, 5i50, on November 18, will include 1.5 km swim, 40 km biking and 10 km run. It will be a perfect preparation for athletes and beginners in the lead up to the main event.
“It is with great pride that we announce the launch of Ironman 70.3 triathlon race in Oman,” said Sayyid Adil bin A Mardas al Busaidi, Adviser of Tourism Affairs, Ministry of Tourism. “It is our mission to make the Sultanate an obvious choice for international sports, as we believe the country has a lot to offer with enthralling beauty. Perfect weather awaits athletes as the warm desert heat is at bay during the cool season, leaving idyllic racing conditions that will entice both new and experienced triathletes. The country is well suited for holding events such as running, cycling and swimming competitions,” he added.
The athletes will pass through beautiful views of the port city as they complete a 1.9-km (1.2-mile) swim, 90.1-km (56-mile) bike ride and 21.1-km (13.1-mile) run during the inaugural Ironman 70.3. The Arabian seas provide for a non-wetsuit swim, which will be held in the calm, clear waters beside the desirable suburb of Al Shatti in downtown Muscat.
Al Shatti is also the location of bike transition, from which athletes will take on a bike route that likens a travel tour, passing all major monuments of Muscat including the Royal Opera House Muscat, Muttrah Gate and Sea Road, the Al Bustan Palace and the enticingly fast Wadi Al Kabir Road.
Speed demons are in for a treat with a cruise down the flat 18 November Street. The single transition in Al Shatti provides convenience for athletes and a hot spot for spectators who will line the four-lap run course encircling the Royal Opera House Muscat and InterContinental Muscat Hotel complex. “We are more than honoured to host athletes from around the world to our beloved nation,” said Race Director and Chief Executive Officer of Triathlon Middle East, Mohamed al Obaidani.
“Triathlon is one of the fastest growing and most dynamic sports in the world, therefore, we want to bring the culture of triathlons and healthy lifestyle to Oman, aiming to make our nation prominent in this area,” he added.
Ali al Tamimi, Triathlon Middle East General Manager, and Hisham al Ghassani, Assistant Director of Tourism Promotion, Ministry of Tourism, were also present.
A supreme test of physical and mental toughness, these races require both courage and determination, in addition to physical preparation. But the rewards are great: all finishers gain the sense of personal accomplishment, and for the fastest age groupers, Ironman 70.3 Oman will offer 30 qualifying slots for the 2019 Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Nice, France.
General registration opened at 2 pm local time on Thursday, July 26, 2018 at www.ironman.com/oman70.3. Athlete inquiries may be directed to email@example.com.