By Emily Goddard

The ITU has added Abu Dhabi to the 2015 World Triathlon Series calendar ©ITU/FacebookAbu Dhabi is set to make its debut on next year's World Triathlon Series (WTS) calendar as part of a new five-year partnership between the Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC) and the International Triathlon Union (ITU).

The United Arab Emirates capital, which has organised a number of age group and professional triathlons in recent years, will stage the event on March 6 and 7 to kick off the 2015 season.

"This is a partnership which represents a meeting of like minds in terms of ambitions," said Marisol Casado, the President of the ITU and an International Olympic Committee member.

"Abu Dhabi is a world-class city and offers a fantastic combination of beautiful water and superb road infrastructure that is entirely suitable for a WTS event.

"In our talks leading up to the partnership it became apparent that Abu Dhabi wants to take its triathlon to the next level and expand the sport's reach in much the same way as ITU is determined to progress the sport internationally."

Headquarters for the event will be at the Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club, where a 2,000-seat grandstand, bike park, "Friends and Family" area, refreshment kiosks and a kids' zone will be built.

The elite event will see the top 65 men and top 65 women on the ITU World Series rankings taking part and will feature a "swim start" off the Volvo Ocean Race yacht pontoons on Abu Dhabi Corniche.

The elite races will feature a "swim start" at the Abu Dhabi Corniche ©Getty ImagesThe elite races will feature a "swim start" at the Abu Dhabi Corniche ©Getty Images

"The World Triathlon Series represents the 'best of the best' - like Abu Dhabi - with the sports elite competing in a 10-city circuit, all striving to become world champion and qualify for the Olympic Games," said ADSC general secretary Aref Al Awani.

"We envisage a host of benefits emerging from this partnership.

"These include further positioning of Abu Dhabi as a destination for world-class sporting events, additional destination exposure among an influential client base, encouragement of our own youth to join in one of the world's fastest-growing Olympic sports and the promotion among our own community of the benefits of healthy lifestyles."

Abu Dhabi is the only new stop on next year's calendar, while Australia's Gold Coast returns for the first time since 2009 for a WTS that will feature a total of 10 cities.

After Abu Dhabi, Auckland in New Zealand will host next on March 28 and 29, before - Gold Coast on April 11-12, South Africa's capital Cape Town on April 25-26, the Japanese city of Yokohama on May 16-17, London in Great Britain on May 30-31, Hamburg, Germany on July 18-19, Sweden's capital Stockholm on August 22-23, Edmonton in Canada on September 5-6 and Chicago in the United States on September 15-20.

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