Muscat: More than 200 athletes are expected to take part in the third edition of the Millennium Triathlon, which is scheduled for October 27 this year, the first of many athletic events that will take place in Oman as the nation begins to experience cooler weather.
“Many professional athletic teams use our event to prepare themselves for the athletic events that lie ahead, because our event marks the start of the athletics season in Oman and the other parts of the Middle East,” said Christoph Schleissing, general manager for Millennium Resort Mussanah. “Last year, we had a national team from Bahrain and one each representing the UAE from Dubai and Abu Dhabi, so I believe we have a good event here.”
“The land is comparatively flat, so it is great for running and biking, and the water is also pretty warm, which makes it very good to swim in this time of year,” Schleissing added.
“The weather in Oman is wonderful in October, so it’s a good platform for the athletes to begin their preparations.”
Fitness enthusiasts who turn up for the event can register across two events: the Sprint and the Olympic. While the Sprint event is recommended for those with a more amateur background, featuring a 750 metres (m) swim, a 20 kilometres (km) bike ride and a five km sprint to the finish, the Olympic version is far more daunting, encompassing a 1,500 m swim, a 40 km bike ride, and a 10 km run to round things off. While the Millennium Resort will be the venue for the event, both the Muscat Triathlon Club, and Middle Eastern sport event organiser Tri-ME have lent support to the triathlon.
“What is important here is not just winning, because everybody will get a medal at the end,” said Mazin Al Obaidani, chief information officer for the Muscat Triathlon Club (MTC). “We are looking at participation, so that we see more Omani athletes who find a love for sports through this, and compete in future events, helping to grow the sport in the country.”
“There are many things that you learn from such events that you cannot get elsewhere in life, and these lessons are very important wherever you are, whether it is at work, when you are running a family, pursuing a hobby, etc.” Al Obaidani added. “We encourage as many Omani youth as possible to come here and take part in this race.”
Ali Nader Al Tamini, operations director for Tri-ME, also had a similar outlook. “Winning is not everything in life,” he said. “It is good to win, but if we only give medals to the top three competitors, then what about the rest of them, who have also put in so much hard work and dedication?”
“If you participate in such events, the discipline, endurance, perseverance and many other qualities that you learn will help you throughout your life,” Al Tamini added.
Schleissing was quick to point out how such events helped promote Oman’s aims for economic diversification through the Tanfeedh directives of economic expansion.
“I think these events help showcase the country to everyone else,” he said. “Oman now has direct flights to most of the other cities in the world, so it is a good place for teams to come and train here. It is a safe destination that has a reputation as a peaceful country, where sports teams can not only enjoy good weather and the beach, for example, but if a team wants, they can also go into the mountains for some high-altitude and endurance training.
“Sporting events are the Vitamin C for sports tourism, and this will help the country grow in the future,” Schleissing concluded.