The structure of the world’s largest half distance prize purse was revealed today by Challenge Bahrain, along with the announcement of some of the sport’s most respected athletes racing at the event on 6 December this year.
World champions Mirinda Carfrae and Pete Jacobs, both of Australia, have confirmed their spot on the Challenge Bahrain start line, along with 2013 Challenge Roth champions, Dirk Bockel (LUX) and Caroline Steffen (SUI) and the UK’s leading long course athlete, Rachel Joyce. Two-times world champion, Sebastian Kienle (GER) will also join this elite group, all with their eye on the record-breaking US$500,000 prize purse.
“I’m excited to be a part of this new standard of racing that sees Challenge Bahrain setting a very high benchmark,” said Pete Jacobs. “This is a huge boost to the sport of triathlon and I’m really excited to be part of history in the making, not only as a professional athlete, but as a big fan of classic triathlon races, this will be one to remember. The hype surrounding this race is already legendary, from the prize money, to the location, the projected class of professional starters, to the passion behind those putting this event on and the reasons and vision that they have to change a sport, a country, and people’s perceptions. I can’t wait to be there for the inaugural Challenge Bahrain!”
The Challenge Bahrain prize purse is evenly split between men and women with each winner taking home $100,000. The remaining split, paying down to 10th place, is as follows: 2nd – $50,000, 3rd – 25,000, 4th – $12,000, 5th – $8,000, 6th – 7,000, 7th – $6,000, 8th – 5,000, 9th – 4,000, 10th – $3,000.
“Tenth place at Challenge Bahrain is the same prize money as a win at other half distance races,” said Challenge Family CEO, Zibi Szlufcik. “Together with our partners in the Kingdom of Bahrain, this highlights our commitment and respect for the professional athletes. This is illustrated outside of Bahrain as well with all Challenge half distance races paying a minimum of US$35,000 as we continue our focus on quality leadership and authenticity.”
“I was directly instructed by His Highness, President of the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports, to work with Challenge Family to bring the best in triathlon from around the world so our youngsters can see in reality what they could become one day,” said Dr Saqer Al Khalifa, President of the Bahrain Triathlon Association. “In this way, we are looking for Challenge Bahrain to become a showdown between the best. We are all very humbled by those who decide to come to Bahrain and we promise to be as hospitable as possible.”
It’s not just the world’s biggest names in triathlon who will benefit from the Challenge Bahrain prize purse. The Middle East is very much an emerging region in triathlon and Challenge Bahrain has also allocated smaller amounts, up to $3,000, to both male and female age group athletes from Bahrain and the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) to encourage local participation. In keeping with Challenge Family’s ethos of inclusiveness, relay teams will also be rewarded, from Bahrain and the GCC as well as international teams.
“Challenge Bahrain is one of the most exciting developments in triathlon this year,” said Mirinda Carfrae. “The course looks spectacular and, with the expected cool, dry conditions and a wetsuit swim, we could be looking at a very fast race. This will be an amazing experience for pros and age groupers alike. I very much look forward to seeing everyone out on course – especially those triathletes stepping up to half distance for the first time.”
Dirk Bockel commented that Challenge Bahrain is not only a milestone in triathlon history but it will also establish Bahrain as a global triathlon destination.
“The race in Bahrain is the most sparkling event of this year, not only because of the massive amount of prize money and the joy the athletes are going to have racing there but also because of traveling to a new destination that is not a typical triathlon location. It’s nice to have a leader that’s also involved in triathlon that will reflect on the whole country and the recognition worldwide that Bahrain is also a triathlon location from now on. For us athletes it is of course amazing to get the opportunity to see a new country and to race an excellently organized event by Challenge but also to have the biggest prize money in the world, if you consider the taxes as well. This is the future of the sport and for me as a professional athlete this is a must do race, absolutely, not only because of all those facts but simply because Challenge puts on another milestone in the history of triathlon.”
Challenge Bahrain will take athletes on a journey through Bahrain’s history, from the high-tech future to the roots of this ancient civilization. The course is the most diverse in triathlon, ranging from the world’s most modern architecture to historic mosques and archaeological sites; from the high-speed Formula One racetrack to running with native animals and birds through the Al Areen Wildlife Park.
The inaugural Challenge Bahrain takes place on 6 December 2014 with entries open now at www.challenge-bahrain.com.bh.