Nelson Mandela Bay is poised to benefit immensely from what will be a double header year when the City hosts the regular IRONMAN African Championship in April and later in September, the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship. It was back in March 2016 when Nelson Mandela Bay submitted its bid to host this iconic event against some of the most popular cities in the world. Competition included Niece in France as well as Budapest in Hungary. The City was announced as the successful bidder in September 2016 largely due the City’s impressive history in hosting major international sporting events including the award winning IRONMAN African Championship.
The 1st of August marked exactly 13 months to go before the first race is held in Nelson Mandela Bay in 2018. The City has been hard at work behind the scenes putting together a multidisciplinary team consisting of City officials, Municipal entities, Provincial Government representatives and IRONMAN South Africa. Noxolo Nqwazi, Executive Director at the Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture, the department tasked with overseeing this iconic event said: “We have been busy finalizing all the relevant host city obligations, developing a business plan and identifying the critical skills that will drive this project to successful delivery in 2018 working side by side with IRONMAN”
With just less than a month since global qualification to race in Nelson Mandela Bay opened, more than 200 athletes from around the world have booked their place to race in the Bay on the 1st and 2nd of September. Unlike the regular IRONMAN African Championship, prospective athletes have to book their entry by qualifying at one of more than 90 IRONMAN 70.3 races around the world. The qualification means only the best in the various age groups get to participate in a world championship race.
Speaking on economic benefits and all the spin offs from an event of this calibre, Member of the Mayoral Committee Councillor Andrew Whitfield who also chairs the high level committee responsible for this strategic event said: “This event could not have come at a better time, a time when our economy has gone through serious contraction especially in the automotive sector. What this event does is to offer us the opportunity to capitalize on our latent potential in tourism”.
“This event will see more than four thousand athletes racing over two spectacular days in our City; nearly thirty thousand international visitors will descend on Nelson Mandela Bay over a period of at least ten days. The direct spend over that period is estimated at an impressive R300m in Nelson Mandela Bay” concluded Whitfield.
The following two tabs change content below.