Good day readers - 2 weeks ago I travel to the country of Jordan, for the West Asia Pacific Championships, and ASTC ITU Continental Cup, in the beautiful port city of Aqaba, at the top of the Red Sea. Which is just a few KM's away from the Israeli city of Eilat.
I was very excited to come here, as the event organizers had helped us arrange our travel & transport. As well to the fact, that Jordan has a very rich history and stunning landscape!
Once we landed at the airport in Amman and started driving on the desert highway, in our rental car. Soon we were greeted by a sandstorm, eventually, heavy rain, and then finally, hail. While we made it out fine, the following day, we were informed, that 20 people had died in various landslides, including young children inside a school bus…
Anyway, the race, I would be assisting 3 athletes, 1 Elite Female -1 Elite Male - 1 Junior male. The course & venue was very simple, quiet, and well managed. It was in a new development called Ayla, which looks very promising in the future!
Come race time, Ebrahim showed improvements in his swim, racing strategy, and execution. Where he managed to do better than 1 athlete who had bested him at the Asian Games, 8 weeks ago. Kudos to coach Jo!
Sameera managed a strong swim, but struggle a bit with the fast pace of the front group, then eventually back it up with a strong run, to win the Elite Women's West Asian Title.
Last up, was Aziz in the Junior race. Who managed a respectable swim, but suffered a punctured front tired on the bike leg, once it got fixed, he stormed the run leg, and finished first U19, and 9th overall!
All in all, it was a fantastic event. I strongly recommend any triathlon, elite, or age group, to join this event at least once in their careers, and use it as a "race-cation" with their family's or loved ones.
I was of course, especially happy to see Canadian (Mike Lori) win the Elite men's event, make new friends, and learn more, about coaching at ITU races!
After the race, I stayed in Jordan for 5 extra days, to visit some iconic sports. Below are various pictures, with captions:
*The pictures don't do the beauty justice - there is also much more to see*
It felt like a mini Grand Canyon with much more history!
A beautiful temple sculpted in rock!
Group picture with the elite athletes, and race organizers
Walking up the 800+ steps carved in rock
Lots of souvenirs to be purchased on the way up
Another amazing temple carved in rock
A selfie with a native Bedouin
Panorama at 1500+ meters above Sea Level
Captured a special moment
Looks like a pretty solid covered car park to me
Who needs a roof when you can have this
Playing with the green mud
Swimming in the Dead Sea is actually hard to get traction, as there is TOO MUCH buoyancy to get proper traction in the very salty water
Just hanging out
Security was pretty tight
This castle was pretty advanced back in the day, as well to being a key location in the region back in the day, connecting Damascus, Baghdad, Riyadh, and Cairo.
It was a bit creepy at times, but plenty of tourists around
Panorama from the top
Felt like I was back in Rome
View from inside the stadium
Selfie with towers in the background
City center square
The MOVING pillars
A "magic shot" as I was told
City center from the top
Anyway, all in all, I believe that everybody should visit Jordan at least once in their lives. I was fantastic experience, I learned a lot, and will remember this trip for-ever!