By Paula Kim on 20/12/11 at 11:50 am
The International Triathlon (ITU) and the Union of Arab National Olympic Committees (UANOC) are pleased to announce that Triathlon and the Triathlon Mixed Relay have been added to the programme of the Arab Games. Both events will be contested for the first time at the 2015 Arab Games in Beirut, Lebanon.
ITU President and IOC Member Marisol Casado and newly appointed ITU Executive Board member Ahmed Nasser were both in Doha for a reception hosted by ITU for the announcement during the 2011 Arab Games.
“ITU believes that our exciting sport has the potential to inspire youth and participation in active recreation worldwide, and therefore we are thrilled to have both triathlon and our new dynamic mixed relay format included in another major Games,” Casado said.
“I am so glad to announce in this wonderful event tonight in conjunction with 12th Arab Games Doha 2011 that Triathlon will be included in the next Pan Arab Games in Lebanon 2015,” said Osman El Saad, UANOC Secretary General. “We are really happy to have the Sport added to the Arab Sports activities. I do appreciate having ITU President and IOC member Marisol Casado and our Arab icon Ahmed Nasser in Doha for the approval and the announcement.”
The reception was attended by 21 Arab participating NOC representatives as well as Arab sports Ministers, Arab IOC members and Arab league representatives.
“We are particularly excited that triathlon has been included in the Arab Games, an area where triathlon’s reach is growing. There have been athletes from Egypt, Oman, Tunisia, Morocco, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Libya and more who have competed in ITU events in recent years, and Morocco’s Mehdi Essadiq is already one of the success stories,” said Casado from Doha. “I hope that the inclusion of both triathlon and the thrilling team triathlon format can help inspire and encourage a new generation of Arab athletes to take up triathlon.”
The current Arab Games in Doha is the 12th edition, which started in 1953 in Alexandria, Egypt. Eight Arab nations competed in the inaugural Games.
The Games are organised by the Union of Arab National Olympic Committees (UANOC), which was founded in 1976 and is based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, under the presidency of IOC member IOC member HRH NAWAF Bin Faisl Bin Fahd Bin Abd El-Aziz Al-Saoud of Saudi Arabia.
In Doha this year, there are 29 different sports on the programme as well as 6000 athletes, over 1500 media and 4000 volunteers. There are 22 participating countries including Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, UAE and Yemen.
A special thank you goes to Global Bridge International (GBI) and Ahmed Mekky, Board Member and Chief Executive Officer, for the tremendous support given to make this special event happen.
This announcement marks another successful year for the growth of both triathlon and the mixed relay. Triathlon debuted in the All Africa Games in 2011, while the mixed relay made its South American Beach Games debut, and recently the format was also added to the programme for the Commonwealth Games. A record 35 teams from 28 different countries also competed in the 2011 Team Triathlon World Championships in Lausanne.