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Nelson Mandela Bay counts down to 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship

By Afikile Lugunya - Sep 1, 2017
Nelson Mandela Bay counts down to 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality on Friday officially marked 365 days to Bay hosting the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in September 2018. This will be the first time that an IRONMAN World Championship event will be held on the African continent.

At press conference at the Hobby Beachin, Port Elizabeth, and was attended by Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality MMC for Economic Development, Tourism and Agriculture, Andrew Whitfield; Project Manager, Rebecca Gatangi, and Nelson Mandela Bay Metro Police Chief, Yolanda Faro, the Metro sought to share its readiness to host the 2018 Ironman 70.3 World Championship with local residents.

“We are ready to welcome the world in the Nelson Mandela Bay, we want people to go and tell their friends and families abroad about what the city has to offer, every resident is an ambassador in the city,” Cllr Whitfield described.

He said that the event is expected to attract a large number of local and international tourists and will generate income for the city as well as highlight the Nelson Mandela Bay as a popular tourism destination.

“Domestic tourism in 2016 resulted in R6.5 billion spent in the city, which is an increase of R13 million from 2015," he said, adding that eight million tourists visited the Bay - an increase of over 700 000 from 2015.

“It is very clear from our domestic side that our numbers are up and I know that people don’t only visit the city for Ironman, but they also do to be prospectors along the route.” 

Project Manager and athlete, Gatangi, took the opportunity to encourage all local women to try out in this event.

“Being an IRONMAN athlete has been an incredible journey for me as a black woman in this community. I am excited that there is a lot going on in the city to enhance tri-athlons to be more inclusive and to destroy stereotypes associated with the fear of water,” she said.

Also speaking at the press conference, Faro said that improved safety measures are being implemented to ensure the safety and security of visitors and residents over the next 365 days.

“In terms of planning, we, as the Metro Police, can assure the city that we have plans at work behind the scenes, so that we can assure that this will be a safe IRONMAN competition.

“We are all aware of the incidence that we need to plan for and we are ready for any incident that will come together with the South African Police Service,” Faro said.

Image: NELSON MANDELA BAY IS READY... Left to right, Project Manager, Rebecca Gatangi; Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality MMC for Economic Development, Tourism and Agriculture, Andrew Whitfield; and Nelson Mandela Bay Metro Police Chief, Yolanda Faro.