LAVA has received confirmation that the second edition of Challenge Bahrain, scheduled for November 20th, has not been given the necessary permits to hold a race at night as was originally announced this June. Challenge will be able to submit a new proposal for a daytime race, but at this time it is not known if an alternative is in the works. The Challenge Bahrain website no longer makes any mention of the race happening at night, so it’s possible that they will pursue a daytime race instead. Whether or not the necessary government bodies will accept the new proposal is not clear at this time.
The big question that remains is what will happen with the final round of His Highness Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa’s inaugural Triple Crown, which could award a record-shattering paycheck of $1 million (USD) to recently crowned Ironman world champion Daniela Ryf. According to our reporting, the final round of the Triple Crown will take place at the inaugural Ironman 70.3 Bahrain, scheduled for December 5. We expect an announcement to be made confirming this within the next week.
Ryf won the first round of the Triple Crown at Challenge Dubai in February, as well as the second round at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Zell Am-See, Austria, in August. The second round of the Triple Crown was originally scheduled to take place at the inaugural Challenge Oman in June, but the event was cancelled due to the outbreak of war in neighboring Yemen.
After the race in Oman was cancelled, Sheikh Nasser and those managing the Triple Crown decided to name Zell Am-See as the second round of the series, because they felt it was the only event on the calendar with a field worthy enough of a potential seven-figure payday. That decision meant that the first-ever Triple Crown would involve a mix of Challenge and Ironman events—a precarious situation for two companies with a less than friendly relationship.
LAVA can also confirm that the inaugural Ironman Dubai 70.3 is currently scheduled to take place on January 26, and registration should open within the next couple weeks. Like Challenge Bahrain, the future of Challenge Dubai is also uncertain. According the Challenge Dubai website, the event is scheduled for February 2016, but the exact date is to be determined.
Given the uncertainty surrounding both Challenge races in the Middle East, it’s likely that Ironman Dubai 70.3 will become the opening round of the 2016 Triple Crown, but we have yet to receive official confirmation from Challenge, Ironman or those managing the Triple Crown within Bahrain.
Last week in Hawaii, Ryf confirmed that she has plans to spend four weeks in Bahrain this winter. Whether the final round of her million-dollar trifecta takes place on November 20 or December 5, she will be in Bahrain. All signs point to her peaking on December 5 to potentially cap off a truly unprecedented year.
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