Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor Athol Trollip applauded the efficient hosting of the Standard Bank Ironman African Championship on Sunday and considers it the perfect dry-run for a world class Ironman 70.3 World Championship on 1 and 2 September.
“With the seamless implementation of the 14th edition of our annual Ironman event in mind, I am now more confident than ever that the first Ironman 70.3 World Championship to be hosted in an African city will catapult Nelson Mandela Bay to the apex of hosting water sports events in South Africa.
“Having seen and experienced the African Championship for the second time as Mayor, we certainly cemented our position as South Africa’s Ironman city.
“Not only was this event won by our own home-grown professional triathlete, Kyle Buckingham, it was hailed “the best ever” by organizers and participants alike at an inspirational awards ceremony.
“The foreign and domestic athletes as well as age group champions could not stop their praise for the organization, the cleanliness, security, amazing volunteers and of course the excellent swim, run and cycle course itself.
“However the greatest praise and appreciation are reserved for the public as our citizens came out in their thousands to support, encourage and appreciate these amazing sportsmen and women.
“Thank you to every single person who made this event such a success and being part of putting our city on the global stage.
“I am committing the tireless efforts of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, its political and administrative leadership to ensure that come September we host a safe, efficient and mesmerizing Ironman 70.3 World Championship.
“Athletes the world over and competitors from other South African cities will leave Port Elizabeth with memorable experiences that cannot be replicated anywhere else.
“The team at Ironman South Africa under the leadership of Keith Bowler and Paul Wolff, municipal officials from the Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture led by Noxolo Nqwazi and the efforts by our political leadership team do not go unnoticed.
“We are in the process of implementing an innovative community focused programme to supplement the exemplary work done by the Metro Police, South African Police Services and other security apparatus to enhance beneficiation of communities along the Ironman route.
“More details will follow shortly in this regard,”Mayor Trollip said.
A whopping 4 500 athletes are expected at the starting line with an estimated income of R 300 million for Nelson Mandela Bay over that period.