The Bahrain Victorious 13 team are converging on Bahrain to cap another victorious year by racing the Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship and the larger celebration of sport in the week leading up to the event.
It is a yearly tradition for the team of champions under the patronage and guidance of His Highness Shaikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa to race the Gulf region’s oldest half distance triathlon. This year’s line-up is a glittering one with dual Olympic gold medalist Alistair Brownlee, Olympic bronze and Commonwealth Games gold medalist Henri Schoeman, 2022 Ironman vice world champion Kat Matthews, and 2020 Ironman Asia Pacific champion Amelia Watkinson taking to the starting line.
Matthews says, “Ironman 70.3 Bahrain is perfectly timed for me to stay focused on over November after a disastrous race at the Ironman World Champs, Hawaii. The training for it has actually been crucial for me to reignite my self-believe and mental health and now I am back to a place where I feel excited to stand on the startline, proud of the work I’ve done and ready to give it everything as part of the Bahrain Victorious 13 Team!”
Along with a similarly deeper pro field, individual participation for the Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship is up by 38% from last year. But from over a thousand athletes flying in from 86 nations, the top three locations are from within the Gulf itself – a showcase of Bahrain as a leading sports destination within the region.
Brownlee says, “I have been coming here since 2017 and each year I’ve seen increasing interest in triathlon. It has been great to see more people being active and competing. I, and all the BV13 team members, are pleased that we are having a positive impact on the region, and hopefully inspiring more people to have a go.”
Apart from the race as the crowning jewel of the week, the Bahrain Victorious 13 will also give back to the Kingdom and community with its annual team camp. Olympic gold and silver medalist Georgia Taylor-Brown, Olympic bronze and Commonwealth Games silver medalist Hayden Wilde, and Olympic bronze medalists Cassandre Beaugrand and Vincent Luis join Brownlee, Schoeman, Matthews, and Watkinson in inspirational visits with the students of St. Christophers School and the Bahrain Bayan School as well as to the Bahrain Olympic Committee to tour its facilities and meet Bahraini athletes preparing for Paris 2024.
“The importance of visiting the Kingdom each year continues to grow for the Bahrain Victorious 13,” says Bahrain Victorious 13 CEO Chris McCormack. “Our school visits, working alongside the Bahrain Olympic Committee and doing some on-ground local activations around the race week give all the athletes on the team a broader perspective of the impact their success is having on the youth of Bahrain.
“And as the Kingdom continues to expand and grow its Sports City and some of the world’s best sporting facilities, our athletes can continue to plug into the best-of-breed opportunities developing here year-on-year. Bahrain is becoming one of the major sporting power players in the region and the world, and BV13 is a big part of that arsenal.”