ABU DHABI – South African Henri Schoeman started the ITU World Triathlon Series in auspicious fashion, prevailing over the two-time defending champion, Spaniard Mario Mola, in the first event held in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
Schoeman, a Rio 2016 silver medalist, put on a dominant performance, leading from start to finish, becoming only the second athlete to achieve that fate.
“To be honest, I am just so happy there really is no words to explain,” the World Triathlon Series website cited Schoeman as saying.
“I just tried to play it safe out there. I found myself in front on the bike and before I knew it I had a gap and the gap grew... I was having fun out there, I was telling myself that if they catch me on the run, well whatever because I had fun on the bike and I was safe.” Schoeman added.
Mola recovered from a slow start in the swimming discipline, nipping at Schoeman’s heels during the cycling event held at Yas Marina circuit, the venue for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The 28-year-old Mola, however, could not keep the pace during the 5-kilometer running competition, ending second, six seconds behind Schoeman, who clocked a time of 57:04, while Frenchman Vincent Luis came third, 22 seconds off the pace.
The triathlon championship will continue in Bermuda, a British island territory in the North Atlantic Ocean on April 28.