Panaji, Nov 12 (IANS): The stage is all set for 1450 triathletes to gear up for top honours at the IRONMAN 70.3 Goa which will be flagged off at the Miramar beach in Panaji on Sunday morning.
The race includes a stellar lineup of seasoned and amateur triathletes from India and 33 countries. The 2022 IRONMAN 70.3 Goa will offer qualifying slots for the 2023 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship and participants are required to complete a grueling 1.9km open sea swim, 90 km cycling and 21 km running.
Talking about the tremendous growth of IRONMAN in India since its first edition was held in 2019, Jeff Edwards IRONMAN Asia Managing Director said, "We already view IRONMAN 70.3 Goa as an important qualifying meet for the IRONMAN World Championships. While it is very important for athletes here in India who aspire to qualify, I think it's also a good opportunity for folks from other parts of Asia and the Middle East to travel, come here and compete."
"It already represents a really good qualifying opportunity, in a unique setting. It is a destination race. So, in the future, I think actually it'll probably just get more competitive for age group athletes to qualify as more and more people find out about the race and the unique experience here."
Edwards further highlighted that India has shown a unique trend where triathletes after getting the taste of their maiden IRONMAN event in 2019, have gone on to participate in IRONMAN events outside of India.
"I think one of the things we really see here in India that's actually quite unique is that the athletes that participated in in 2019 at the inaugural event, they've really travelled outward already to participate in IRONMAN. They had their initial experience here in 2019 and then started attending events in many other locations so we're seeing that Indian athletes really like to travel and race and then visit a lot of different places. It's been a very quick development even under travel restrictions of the last couple of years," he was quoted as saying in a release on Saturday.
On the occasion, the IRONKIDS event was also launched with children under 16 getting an opportunity to compete in an endurance race of 5km, 3km and 1km.
Talking about this initiative, Edwards said, "On Saturday morning we saw a great number of children participate in IRONKIDS and it's something we want to promote among young children, we want them to take to a fitter life from a young age. Learn to swim and cycle and eventually be able to participate in triathlons or just lead a healthy lifestyle."
The first edition of IRONMAN 70.3 Goa was held in 2019 and is now an annual event with the next race in November 2022.