By World Triathlon Admin on 01/03/06 at 12:00 am
QATAR, Doha – The 2006 ITU World Cup triathlon series is under way this Friday, March 3rd in Doha, Qatar. Local organisers and officials are excited as final preparations of the course and venue is completed for the International Triathlon Union’s (ITU) first World Cup in the Middle East.
2005 World Cup series winner Annabel Luxford, from Australia, is back to try and stay atop the rankings while fellow Aussie Brad Kahlefeldt will be on the start line to try and better last years World Cup series second place finish. Kahlefeldt is hot off a recent win two weeks ago at the ITU Hobart Oceania Cup, where Luxford finished third, showing they are on form for the upcoming 2006 Commonwealth Games in Australia.
The women hit the water at 8:00am local time while the men’s race is scheduled for 11:30am. Doha is the first race in the 2006 ITU World Cup series and doubles as the test event for the Doha Asian Games being held in December. The excitement builds as athletes jockey for a piece of the US$100,000 prize purse and world cup points for the start of the qualification period for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, beginning June 1st.
Many nations such as the Philippines, Syria, Chinese Taipei and Macao are, for the first time, gathered at an ITU World Cup to represent their countries. A large Chinese contingent is also present in Doha as their country build towards hosting the 2008 Games. This is an exceptional showing as ITU strives to have more countries represented in the triathlon competition at the Beijing Olympics.
Other athletes to look for are Laura Bennett, who finished third at the 2005 ITU World Championships in Gamagori and 2004 World Cup series winner Dmitriy Gaag. Gaag is back from a brief hiatus in 2005 and looking to reclaim his title as number one as his teammate Daniil Sapunov looks to capitalize on his second place finish at last year’s U23 World Championships.
The 2006 ITU World Cup series continues a week later on March 10th at the ITU Aqaba World Cup triathlon in Jordan.
Live coverage of the 2006 ITU Doha World cup will take place at 07:30 local time on Friday. Coverage of the first world cup of the season will include live audio commentary, live images, full live timing and text updates. Simply visit www.triathlon.org and launch the live coverage.
Full start lists are available at www.triathlon.org.
Find more details about this event - 2006 Doha ITU Triathlon World Cup