For those of you who have not heard of Biathle, it is a non Olympic sport, part of the Modern Pentathlon 'family' of sports, and it held its first World Championships in 1999.
Modern Pentathlon consists of 5 individual events -running, swimming, shooting, horseriding and fencing, with competitors accumulating points for each. It has been an Olympic sport for many years and for the older Brits among you, you may remember team GB winning team gold in the Montreal Olympics in 1976.
In the ME Biathle is organised by Mihail Kouzev, who the more seasoned UAE triathletes will remember as the Bulgarian Olympic Pentathlete who burst onto the local Tri scene and, once he learned to ride a bike, cleaned up most of the races.
The Biathle World Championships was last held in Dubai in 2010 where our own Nicholas Tipper took bronze in the senior male category.
A bit more about the Biathle event itself.... age categories range from 10 and under, up in age bands to 70+ and distances are REALLY short - the longest being a continuous 1.5k run, 200m swim, 1.5k run! Yes its a real sprint! The great thing about the event is that it is a perfect way of introducing young children to multisports, and in some countries such as the UK and South Africa it is very popular.
There were two events held in Dubai this year, both at the superb location of Mina Seyahi just down from the Barasti Bar.
The first was the Biathle ME UAE Challenge. The bonus was that anyone who finished in the top three in their age group qualified to represent the UAE at the World Championships 3 weeks later.
There was a pretty good turnout particularly amongst the children, and a few TriDubai participants including Nicholas Tipper, Andy McCrae and Olivier Nicolas.
The highlight for me was my twin boys Will and Tom who just turned 8 in their first race. Thanks to Brian Clarke who chaperoned Tom in the swim. I looked after Will who is not as strong a swimmer and he was on my back for much of the race shouting "faster Dad catch him up!!".
Nick won the senior (22-39) age group with Andy third. All qualified for the UAE team however Nick was already part of the GB team. Olivier narrowly missed out on a UAE team place coming a strong 4th in a competitive Masters A (40-49) age group. I managed to win the Masters B (50-59) age group thanks to all those TriDubai Saturday morning sessions!
Three weeks later the World Championships was held at the same location. TriDubai member Dave Hunt added to the TriDubai contingent as part of the GB team. There were over 300 participants with large teams from GB and South Africa as well as a number of other countries including Australia, Argentina and Germany.
Another great day of racing. Nick Tipper, having taken out the Sting Triathlon the day before still managed a top 10 finish in 10th place with Andy Mac 9th in the most competitive senior category. Hunty held on for 14th in the Masters A category despite little running training due to injury and I was stoked to take the gold and with a quicker time than the winner of the Masters A, obviously as a result of more Saturday morning thrashings by Roy, Ian, Bruce and Didge!