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04 December 2023

12-year-old special needs Dubai boy takes on Yas triathlon

Rio is the star member of Dubai-based TeamAngelWolf, a family team made up of his parents, Nick and Delphine and his younger sister Tia. (Supplied)

By Staff

A 12-year-old boy with severe special needs will team up with his family to take part in this month’s TriYAS by Daman’s ActiveLife.

Rio Watson suffers from a chromosome disorder that afflicts his motor and communication skills. But that won’t stop him from joining thousands of other competitors at Yas Marina Circuit’s annual triathlon on February 26.

Rio is the star member of Dubai-based TeamAngelWolf, a family team made up of his parents, Nick and Delphine and his younger sister Tia. Together they have taken part in endurance races around the region in a bid to inspire society to integrate people with special needs into sport.    

Father Nick, who has worked in Dubai for 17 years in the health and fitness industry, is a regular competitor in triathlons, marathons and charity runs in the Middle East. Rio is his companion at every race, joining him in a specially-designed wheelchair and specialised bicycle.

“Our participation in popular sporting events like TriYAS is a great way of raising awareness of our mission to encourage greater integration of people with special needs into society and into sport to motivate society to become fit and healthy,” said Mr Watson. “And most importantly, we want to get the whole community motivated to get fit and healthy.

“Like all the events we compete in as TeamAngelWolf, we do it for Rio – to allow him to experience the same thrill and excitement as hundreds of others. Rio is going to love racing around Yas Marina Circuit on February 26 and we look forward to everyone’s support and encouragement on the day.”

Nick McElwee, Sales & Marketing Director at Yas Marina Circuit said: “On behalf of the whole team here at Yas Marina Circuit, we are delighted to be welcoming TeamAngelWolf to TriYAS and wish them all the best on race day.

“TriYAS is a community event that is open to people of all abilities and forms a key part of our vision to help encourage greater physical activity in the UAE. Nick and Rio’s participation is an inspiration to everyone here that there should be no barriers to inclusion in sport.”

With only 10 days until the start of TriYAS, TeamAngelWolf will among an estimated 1,700 participants entering the final stage of preparation for race day.

Yas Marina Circuit recently revealed on the official YMC website the swimming, cycling and running maps for the sixth edition of the race. The colour coded maps reveal the routes for both the Olympic category, featuring a 1,500-metre swim, 40-kilometre bike race and 10-kilometre run, and the shorter Sprint category, involving a 750-metre swim, 20-kilometre bike course and 5-kilometre run.

This year sees an increased field of 1,700 people, allowing more youngsters, first-time racers and experienced triathletes to take part in the event, which has sold out every year.

TriYAS will include KidsTRI for children aged between 9-17 years with a 100/20mm-metre swim, 6/9-kilometre cycle and a 1.5/2.5k-kilometre run based on age group. The UAE’s only twilight triathlon also includes a female-only category.

Participants are encouraged to share their own personal stories of their training experiences across social media, using the hashtag ‘#TriYAS’.

To register for TriYAS, please visit www.yasmarinacircuit.com

To find out more about TeamAngelWolf, including how you can sponsor the team, please visit www.facebook.com/Team-Angel-Wolf