Nelson Mandela Bay to be host city of 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship
In a first for both the South African athletic and tourism scenes, IRONMAN recently announced that its 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship will be hosted in Port Elizabeth’s Nelson Mandela Bay, beating the European cities of Nice and Budapest for the international honour.
On 1 September 2018, more than 6 000 athletes from over 100 global qualifying events in locations such as Australia, Spain and the US will descend on South Africa’s “Friendly City” to compete in what is a highpoint in the global triathlon calendar. No stranger to athletic events of this nature, Nelson Mandela Bay first hosted an IRONMAN event all the way back in 2004, and has been the site of the Standard Bank African Championship since 2015.
According to Andrew Merrick, CEO of IRONMAN, the company is delighted to bring their World Championship to the picturesque coastal city. He says that tens of thousands of competitors from all over the globe have enjoyed racing in events held in South Africa over the past 12 years, and that IRONMAN looks forward to welcoming the world’s most elite athletes to the African continent.
The fact that this is the first time an IRONMAN World Championship will be held on African soil is a proud endorsement for Nelson Mandela Bay as a world-class holiday and sporting destination, and also tremendously exciting for Standard Bank, who currently hosts the IRONMAN South Africa, the IRONMAN 70.3 South Africa and the 5150 Triathlon Series.
Hazel Chimhandamba, Head Sponsorship at Standard Bank, believes that such an event coincides with and is a result of Standard Bank’s goal to see the sport of triathlon reach greater prominence on the continent. She also asserts that having the 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship hosted in Port Elizabeth will significantly contribute to the city’s economy through tourist revenue, thus corresponding with the Bank’s greater goal of driving progress in Africa.