Egyptian elite Omar Nour has thrown down the gauntlet to London 2010 Olympic gold medallist, Ali Brownlee, as the two short course athletes perpare to go head-to-head at Saturday’s Abu Dhabi International Triathlon.
Nour – a leading triathlon figure in the Middle East – is hoping to outshine the Olympic champion 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’ll be victorious despite the strong challenge from Nour.
“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 competitive advantage.
“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 Boulder, Colorado.
“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. Other triathletes assembled for the US$230,000 Abu Dhabi event include Alexander Bryukhankov from Russia.