This year’s Abu Dhabi International Triathlon on 3rd March sees more than 40 athletes from Kuwait competing alongside hundreds of competitors from around the world. There’s no doubt the sport of triathlon is in the ascendency globally, and its popularity in Kuwait can be credited to The 3 Club – Kuwait’s ‘go-to’ place for triathlon devotees. Where else would be better to go to get the low-down from three entrants to this year’s event than The 3 Club itself where we spoke to co-founder Ahmed Al-Majed, the uber-competitive Anwar Jawhar, and newcomer Zaid Almutawa.
You’re a relative newcomer to the sport of triathlon, yet you’ve already achieved a lot. What are your sporting aims for your future?
As of where I stand today in terms of the achievements I have reached in the sport of triathlon I want to take it up to another level and work even harder in improving my race timings in Olympic distance triathlon races and Iron man 70.3 distance races.
This is a very addictive sport that pushes you mentally and physically to the limits and that’s what makes it special.
Once I am happy with my Iron man 70.3 distance results I will definitely start doing full Iron man distance races which will require a totally different training strategy and approach and race plan. I can’t wait!
Triathlon is just filled with excitement and the constant challenge keeps me coming back for more!
As part of the first generation of Kuwaiti triathletes, you’re setting the standards for those that come after you to follow. What advice would you give to those just beginning in the sport now?
First thing I would tell beginners is not to set such high goals at the beginning. Go out and enjoy the sport, you are training to be an expert in 3 sports as well as having your own life away from the sport.
Always train smart, try to educate yourself about the sport and what it offers. Triathlon is all about knowing when and how to execute different plans, whether they are during a race or even in a training session.
Listen to your body. This is something that has made me more experienced by far. Know when to rest and don’t be worried that you will miss a training session. Your body will only get stronger when you allow it to rest and you will avoid getting injured. Be smart and enjoy the journey triathlon will take you on!
What are you most looking forward to about the Abu Dhabi event?
I did the race in 2011 and it was spectacular. The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority did a great job and I am really looking forward to going down to Abu Dhabi in March.
Abu Dhabi is a unique distance and that is what I love about the race. It is one of the most scenic triathlons as you get to swim by the Abu Dhabi Cornice, cycle your way through the Yas Marina Circuit and run through the capital city. You have to think that little bit extra about how you want to tackle each discipline and still be fast at them.
I’m really looking forward to the triathlon atmosphere the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon creates and the build-up to the race right the way to the end of the race. Everything is so well organised and put together so perfectly. It is definitely one race I won’t miss out on in my race calendar each year!
You are well known to our readers who have followed you since your first Ironman. Your personal involvement in triathlons led to the successful establishment of The 3 Club. As the Club continues to go from strength to strength, what is your next target in terms of further raising the standards of sport in Kuwait?
Our target is limitless and our objective is to enhance and spread the awareness of the sport in our society at all levels. I am proud that we get the chance to do this through our participation in the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon.
Over your years of competition, have you witnessed a change in attitudes towards athletes in Kuwait. Do you feel they receive the support and respect they deserve?
I personally think that there are many things that can be done to reward and support the athletes in Kuwait today. Most importantly, is to cater to their needs in terms of providing them with professional coaching sessions and a training atmosphere which has the facilities to support their needs.
If you were given the responsibility of establishing a plan for Kuwait’s future athletes, what would be the most important and the first change you would make to support them?
Create a grassroots training programme for all potential athletes as well as provide them with the facilities and education to support their goals and objectives.
You’ve participated in numerous triathlons, and several Ironman competitions. What makes Abu Dhabi a unique experience for you?
Abu Dhabi hosts one of the biggest triathlons in the region – Abu Dhabi International Triathlon – and as a GCC national it makes me proud to participate in such an event. Also, I do admire and appreciate the effort and hard work that has gone into organising the event to deliver a unique triathlon for the 3rd year in a row.
It is fair to say that your involvement with The 3 Club has completely changed your life.
Yes, it changed my life completely.. Usually, I go to the gym, I do the regular workouts, cardio and weight-lifting just to stay in shape.. But when I first experienced the triathlon organized by the 3 club, I discovered a whole new lifestyle that fits perfectly for me! with the 3 club, I now do workouts for a purpose! There’s a goal I would like to successfully achieve.. Preparing myself for triathlons is far more exciting and challenging than just trying to stay fit. I’m glad the 3 club opened my eyes to this world.
What was your motivation to begin training?
I participated in the flying star v.04 triathlon for the first time and experienced an uplifting feeling.. The atmosphere was filled with positive energy and healthy challenge! This triathlon is the reason i joined the 3 club and made me hungry for more challenges.
And what is your motivation to continue?
Iron man. I want to do it!
The 3 Club is well-known to provide a very supportive network for its members. In what ways has being part of The 3 Club helped you succeed in your goals?
The 3 club is providing us with a highly developed training program that helps us improve significantly. The trainers are professional and very supportive. And finally, the extremely friendly environment encourages us to maintain the positive energy and continue to practice more.
This will be your first Abu Dhabi triathlon. What experiences do you hope to bring home with you to Kuwait after the event? What are you looking forward to most about the event?
I’m excited to race along with international pro athletes and would like to meet them and learn from their experiences. I want to challenge myself, try to break my record, and finish the race successfully. What I’m looking forward for is the part where we cycle inside the Yas Marina Circuit which hosts the race of the F1 season.
For further details visit www.abudhabitriathlon.com
First Published in Men's Passion Issue #37 February 2012