By Sports Reporter
Moroccan athlete Jawad Abdelmoula made the most of bright and sunny conditions on Friday to win the men’s elite class event at the QNB Asia Triathlon Cup Doha 2021 in front of glistening Lusail Marina waters. In the women’s elite competition, seasoned athlete Juri Ide headed a Japanese surge finishing ahead of compatriots Chisato Nakajima and Minori Ikeno in the 11-athlete field.
Running his final last of the season, 27-year-old Abdelmoula paced his race well to clock a time of 1 hour 42 minutes and 48 seconds to complete the swimming, cycling and running challenge around Lusail City. Great Britain’s Ben Dijkstra, running his first competition for more than a year, surprised himself with a second-place finish, just 20 seconds slower than Abdelmoula.
Japan’s Aoba Yasumatsu clinched the bronze medal (+ 27 seconds) from a field of 37 athletes who endured distances of 1,500m swim, 40km bike and 10km run.
“I am very happy to win in Doha,” Abdelmoula said yesterday. “I am happy because it is the end of my competition season and I won the elite class gold medal,” he added. “It was a long season and I am pleased to have won this strong competition,” Abdelmoula said.
“I want to thank my home federation for their support. I did really well in the swim and I was good on the bike also. I am tired because I have done a lot of races in the last few months. “It was a great season. I can say ‘wow, what a season’. I loved the race conditions here. One month ago, I was not sure I would come here but I am glad I came here. I definitely want to come back here again,” he said with a smile. “This is my first time in Qatar. The organisation of the event was great.”
Silver medallist Dijkstra surprised himself with a second-place finish. “I am very happy with it (the result). It was my first race in a long time. In fact, this was my first race of the year. To be on the start line and get a result like this is great,” Dijkstra, the U-23 European champion in 2019, said.
“I am a little surprised. I wasn’t expecting this (result) as I had not raced since September last year. I didn’t know what to expect since I hadn’t raced in such a long while. It was fun and the good result is a bonus,” he added. “I look forward to my flight home, rest and then do my winter training and look ahead to the new season,” Dijkstra, 23, said.
Bronze medallist Yasumatsu said: “It is fairly hot here. It was a tough day. It was a tough race. I am happy with my result. This was my last race of the season. In the coming days and weeks, I want to get better and faster.”
Qatari athletes Tamim Jamal al-Kuwari, Saad Abdulaziz al-Mejali, Mubarak al-Ajji and Fahad Ahmed al-Mohamed completed the race with ease.
Dr Mohamed al-Kuwari, President of Qatar Triathlon Federation (QTF), Thani al-Zarraa, Secretary-General of QTF, and Fatma al-Ghanim, Board Member of QTF, gave away the prizes.
Ide, a three-time Japan National Champion, won the women’s elite class in a time of 1 hour 56 minutes and 54 seconds. Nakajima was 25 seconds slower while bronze medallist Ikeno was 1 minute 20 seconds adrift of the time set by Ide. “I am very happy to have won in Doha. It was a tough competition,” Ide, 38, said. “I liked racing here,” the soft-spoken popular athlete said.
Today, the Qatar Triathlon Federation (QTF) will host a public race for over 250 triathletes from Qatar and the GCC region. Athletes from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE are already in Doha for the competition.
Athletes will cover distances of 750m (swim), 20km (bike) and 5km (run), organisers said. The competition starts at 7:30am and ends two hours later at the stunning modern cityscape of Lusail Marina. Athletes will share a prize pot of $30,000 over the course of the two-day competitions.
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