Bodyguards to ensure Bahraini princes complete Ironman unscathed

2014-04-04 00:00

PORT ELIZABETH — Bodyguards will be taking part in the Ironman for the first time in the history of this triathlon competition.

They will be there to safeguard two Bahrain princes, Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa (24) and Sheikh Nasser Al Khalifa (26), who will be competing for the first time in the tough trio of races — a 3,8 km swim in the sea, a 18,02 km bike ride and a 42,2 km run.

Ironman organisers said the bodyguards will be incognito and treated as race officials, which at least means they will not have to sweat it out alongside the princes.

Instead, they will be using jetskis to watch over the princes as they swim in the Bay; while the royals cycle, their bodyguards will ride on motorbikes; and as the princes plod along on the run, the hard men with their listening devices will be cycling along on mountain bikes.

While the bodyguards will be armed, the spokesperson for Ironman, Ed Richardson, said runners did not have to worry about the bodyguards taking a dim view of competitors going faster than their clients.

“They promised to keep out of the way of competitors and will be invisible,” he said.

He also assured the competitors that the princes will not get any royal treatment from the seconds along the way, but will have to sweat it out just like the bourgeois.

After the race, the sheikhs at least do not have to shake it down with the Great Unwashed unless they want to, for 42 rooms have been reserved at the five-star Boardwalk hotel for the entourage of the princes and 14 other competitors from Bahrain.

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