Elite triathlete Bryan Rhodes will compete in this Saturday’s Abu Dhabi International Triathlon in memory of the Christchurch earthquake victims and is calling on fellow athletes and the general public to help raise funds to assist the emergency relief efforts.
Rhodes, who hails from the New Zealand city devastated by the recent magnitude 6.3 earthquake, was in Sydney, Australia when the disaster hit February 22.
“The situation is far more devastating than most can even imagine; this has changed the lives of those in Christchurch forever,” says Rhodes, a multi-Ironman winner and one of more than 60 elites taking part in the Abu Dhabi event. “All local athletes that I know have been forced to relocate to continue training, the city is in complete lock down and far too many families have lost loved ones. [My partner] Christie [Sym] and I are continuing our training in Sydney in final preparation for the Abu Dhabi triathlon, and will be racing for my home country in memory of those that have lost their lives, their loved ones, and their homes.”
Bryan asks fellow athletes and triathlon fans who want to help to make a donation at Redcross.org.nz/donate.
Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), which organizes the triathlon, is asking all attending professional athletes to sign a series of event posters which will be auctioned off at the awards ceremony and post-event via social media sites with all proceeds being donated to the Christchurch Earthquake appeal via the New Zealand Red Cross.
“The very purpose of the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon is about bringing people together to share experiences for a greater good, says Faisal Al Sheikh, ADTA events manager. “That is the power sport has, so it makes sense that we use this event to help raise funds for those who need help. We hope that fans of all nationalities pledge their support to this cause and come down to the finish line to cheer on Bryan and his fellow athletes.”
This year’s Abu Dhabi International Triathlon field is nearly double the size of last year’s field, signaling the event’s and the sport’s swelling appeal from both the Middle East and internationally.
Triathletes from Brazil, the Channel Islands, China, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Slovenia, Turkey, Taiwan and Vietnam will take their marks at the Abu Dhabi Corniche start. They’ll line up alongside more than 60 elite athletes, including four-time world champions and Aussies Chris McCormack and Craig Alexander and defending champions Eneko Llanos of Spain and Great Britain’s Julie Dibens.
Press release provided by Abu Dhabi International Triathlon.