Born in Amman, Jordan’s capital, Lawrence Fanous has progressed through the international elite triathlon ranks and can now proudly call himself the world’s best Arab triathlete. Now 32, he’s helping to drive the growth of the sport in the Middle East. His sporting career began at just four years old.
1.What are your goals for 2018?
2018 Is a big year for me. My main goal is the Asian Games in July. It is the 2nd biggest Games after the Olympics and I am hoping for a medal there. It will be massive for me and Jordanian Sport in general if I do it.
2.What inspired you to become involved in triathlon?
I started out as a national level swimmer and because of the fitness from that also ran cross-countries at school. At around 13 years old a teacher at school spotted my talent and asked if I fancied trying a tri. I ended up loving the atmosphere and challenge of the sport, as well as doing pretty well, and so decided to take it up once I tried for, and got on to the British squad at 15.
3.What do you look for in an event?
A fun, friendly atmosphere is the most important thing for me. I love the camaraderie that you get from competing in tri. The buzz you get after triathlon is amazing and everyone loves re-counting their experience. Also some pumping trance tunes at the finish line always make me feel like I’m winning the Olympics, however small the event is!
4.What advice do you have for people who are thinking of getting involved in triathlons?
I’d say don’t start with an Ironman half way across the world and spending half your savings on it!! Start small with a local sprint or super-sprint event and work you way up the distances as you get fitter. You may find you prefer the shorter stuff or you may love the longer races. But give yourself somewhere to build to rather than going straight in at the deep end! Local tris can be reasonably priced and have great atmospheres. Also family and friends can come to watch and if you hate the sport you haven’t emptied your bank account to find out!
5.What’s your favourite piece of sports equipment & why?
Probably my Huub transition bag. You can get, literally, everything but the bike into it! I also love my On running trainers with running being my favourite discipline of the three.
6.What’s been your major achievement in sport so far?
That’s easy – qualifying for and competing in the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016. Best experience of my life!
7.Who is your favourite sports person that you follow on social media & why?
Even though he’s a bit controversial I really like Tyson Fury. I find him entertaining and actually quite an inspiration in the way he treats his training, especially before big fights. In the tri world Richard Murray has a pretty cool Instagram account. He’s backed by some cool sponsors who put a lot of money into their marketing and he makes a good job of using that.
8.What would your autobiography be called?
Lawrence of Arabia!
9.You have a private jet at the ready, who do you take? And where do you go?
I’d take a couple people if that’s ok: My fiancé, Jamie Oliver to cook and a couple of my best friends. I’d head over to Whistler in Canada for some skiing and Jamie would be cooking in the villa!