The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s bid to host the World Ironman 70.3 in 2018 received a major boost when the technical team gave the city a clean bill of health barring minor improvements that can still be addressed.
While addressing a joint press conference at the Tramways Building this morning, Ms Diana Bertsch, Vice President of World Championship Events, described her first experience in the city as a pleasant one.
“It is a beautiful venue for World Ironman. There are minor elements that must be improved on but it can be done. Since we stepped off the plane we received a friendly welcome and it felt good. It touches you in the heart and it matters because athletes participating in major events remember these experiences and take that memory back home with them,” Bertsch said.
This is especially good news for Nelson Mandela Bay as the current host city of the annual African leg of Ironman which means it is a tried and tested host city for this sporting code. The winning host city of the 70.3 World Ironman will be announced towards the end of June.
Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Dr Danny Jordaan, described an event like Ironman as a unique event that brings unity amongst residents and brings out the best of the human spirit.
“This city is named after Nelson Mandela – an international icon which adds an additional element to the hosting of an event here. We also have a natural environment with modern infrastructure. You can take pictures of lions and send it immediately to other parts of the world.
“We are currently in the process of rolling out free wi-fi in our city. If you decide on Nelson Mandela Bay as your host city, you will return in 2018 to a connected city as we are implementing our smart city initiative, ” Mayor Jordaan added.
Mayoral Committee Member for Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture Andiswa Mama and Mayoral Committee Member for Roads and Transport Babalwa Lobishe added their voices to the city’s support for an event of this calibre by saying the organizers will not regret choosing Nelson Mandela Bay to showcase their event.
Nearly 4 000 athletes from across the world qualify during different events to participate in the 70.3 World Ironman for a spot to compete in the World Championship. This event is considered to be the second crown in the jewel of Ironman with the full Ironman held annually in Kona, the ultimate contest in the Ironman series.
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