A record number of professional athletes will line up for the 13th edition of the annual Standard Bank IRONMAN® African Championship on Sunday 2 April 2017 at Hobie Beach in Nelson Mandela Bay.Vying for victory within the 75-athlete-strong professional field are the women’s World Champion Daniela Ryf, Asia-Pacific Champion Jodie Swallow, African Champion Kasia Lehtonen and North American Champion Julia Gajer.Participating in the men’s category are the previous three winners in South Africa, including 2013 World Champion Belgium’s Frederik Van Lierde. He will be joined by defending champion, USA’s Ben Hoffman, 2014 winner Nils Frommold and South Africa’s James Cunnama and Kyle Buckingham.Despite having possibly the strongest professional field outside of the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, the IRONMAN African Championship is demonstrating its growing appeal, with this year’s international field set to be the biggest ever assembled for this event. Of a field of more than 2 000 athletes racing close to 700 will be international participants. This is positive news for Nelson Mandela Bay ahead of the 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship. The city was awarded host status for the event in October last year marking the first time an IRONMAN World Championship has ever been held on the African Continent. An estimated 6,000 athletes from over 100 global qualifying events are expected to hit the shores of Nelson Mandela Bay in 2018.For more information on the Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship visit www.ironman.com/southafrica.