Alistair and Jonny Brownlee set to go head to head in Abu Dhabi next March

Alistair Brownlee - Abu Dhabi Triathlon Winner

Alistair Brownlee showed incredible strength to take victory in Abu Dhabi earlier this year

Olympic Champion Alistair Brownlee and brother Jonathan, the 2012 ITU World Champion, have both confirmed to open their seasons in the Emirate on 15 March at the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon.

Now entering its fifth year on the calendar, the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon, organised by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, has firmly established itself as the season opener of choice for the world’s leading triathletes and a must do event for age group athletes.

The event offers participants the opportunity to compete in long, short or sprint distance routes while taking in the breathtaking scenery of the UAE capital. Frederik Van Lierde’s win in the long distance wave at this year’s Abu Dhabi International Triathlon set him up for a tremendous season, culminating in his victory at the Ironman World Championship in Kona last month, while Melissa Hauschildt scooped the title in the women’s discipline.

The Brownlee brothers will go head to head with Jonny hoping to clinch the title from the short distance event’s current reigning champion Alistair.

“Having watched Alistair’s victory in last year’s event, I knew this was a race that I wanted to do. Alistair said the event was something I couldn’t miss out on, especially with the idyllic conditions and iconic course the event offers us. It will be a step up in distance for me, which is a challenge, and I think I can adapt to it very well”

Alistair is looking for a strong start to the year following a tough injury-ridden season which saw him bow out of the ITU World Championships.

”I loved the experience of competing here last year. It was my first time at the longer distance, and I was nervous going into the event. The city offers so much to a triathlon that it is an event that should be on everybody’s list of ‘must do’s’. It didn’t take much convincing to get Jonny to come out with me this year. Obviously I was disappointed with the end of my season, and I couldn’t think of a better way to start 2014 than retaining my title in Abu Dhabi.”

For those wishing to compete in the short course there will be added incentive to go for gold with a prize sum of $15,000 on offer, adding a jewel in the crown to an already irresistible event.

Next year’s Abu Dhabi International Triathlon marks its fifth anniversary, with a record number of entries and participants set to take part in the spectacular sporting experience. Although entries opened only one month ago, over 50 per cent of places have already been snapped up, 40 per cent of which to previous participants.

Starting in the shimmering turquoise waters off Abu Dhabi’s Blue Flagged public beach, the course will weave its way along the Corniche to the spectacular Yas Island and around the Yas Marina Circuit, home to the annual Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, before returning to the heart of the UAE capital.

The Abu Dhabi International Triathlon offers three course distances; the 223km ‘long course’ (3km swim, a 200km cycle and 20km run), the half-length ‘short’ course (1.5km swim, a 100km cycle and a 10 km run) and the sprint course (750m swim, a 50km bike and 5km run). Both the ‘short’ and the ‘sprint’ can be run as a team relay.

Organisers have frozen athlete registration fees for the fifth year in a row. Athletes interested in entering should visit www.abudhabitriathlon.com