Nour throws down Abu Dhabi gauntlet to Olympic champ Brownlee
Created On: 28 February 2013
Egyptian star Omar Nour
hoping local knowledge will give him the edge over Team GB's Ali
Egyptian elite Omar Nour has thrown down the gauntlet to London
2012 Olympic gold medallist, Ali Brownlee, as the two short course
specialists ready to go head-to-head at Saturday's Abu Dhabi
Nour - a leading triathlon figure in the Middle East where the
sport is growing exponentially - is hoping to outshine the Olympic
hero on Abu Dhabi's pure power 111.5kms middle distance, having
been acclimatising in the UAE capital for the last month.
Brownlee, who is making his Abu Dhabi debut, remains confident
that he will be victorious despite the strong challenge from
"He's a quality athlete and he does have experience of competing
in the area and in the heat so I'm looking forward to a good race.
It will be an interesting distance, doing this short course is the
perfect transition for those interested in long distance
triathlon," said Brownlee.
Egyptian Nour - who took on the feeder Tri Yas event earlier
this month in Abu Dhabi - believes that a combination of local
course knowledge and having local hero status could give him the
"I'm from this part of the world; I know the climate, the
environment and the atmosphere. I want to make the region proud and
show how much triathlon has grown in the area. It's extra pressure
for me but it's also extra motivation and I think that will give me
the extra competitive edge," said the 34-year-old, who lives in
"Ali won't be use to the heat like me, this is not Yorkshire
heat this is desert heat!" he added.
Nour is not the only challenge facing the Olympic champion;
Jordanian triathlete Lawrence Fanous, another big name of the
regional triathlon community, poses a serious threat while Cesar
Beilo from the Netherlands is a much fancied contender. Other
triathletes assembled for the US$230,000 Abu Dhabi event include
Alexander Bryukhankov from Russia, Australian Ollie Whistler and
also Rhys Davey from Great Britain, who is hoping to cause an upset
against his compatriot on the Short Course.
Brownlee is excited to make his triathlon debut in the Abu Dhabi
Tourism & Culture Authority-backed (TCA Abu Dhabi) event as it
also gives him a chance to explore the emirate.
Off the course Nour has been showing Brownlee some of the sights
and helping the 24-year-old Yorkshire man learn more about Abu
Dhabi's culture and history. Together they gave a special triathlon
masterclass to local children on the blue flag certified beach at
the stunning Emirates Palace hotel, helping further grow the sport
at the grass roots.
Abu Dhabi is expecting more than 2,000 athletes to compete this
year, including many of the world's top elites.
Dubbed an 'Instant Classic' after its 2010 debut, the event has
continued to attract the world's best for a shot at one of the
sport's richest prizes. Highlights from past years have seen World
Champions Chris 'Macca' McCormack and Craig 'Crowie' Alexander
battle it out in the desert sun, legend Julie Dibens claim
back-to-back titles and Rasmus Henning snatch the title in the
closing metres from home favourite Faris Al Sultan.
The year, organisers are promising the strongest elite field to
date with Ali Brownlee at the forefront.
The 2013 Abu Dhabi International Triathlon will start with a
sunrise swim in the Arabian Gulf's shimmering turquoise waters off
Abu Dhabi's Blue Flagged public beach, before weaving through
closed roads along the Corniche Beach, up 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.