PE bags half Ironman world champs and blue flag status

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“We have always strived to offer a world-class event in the city and it is a great compliment to do it. It shows that what we are doing here is globally recognised. Port Elizabeth itself has already repeatedly proven to be a city where events of international calibre can be offered,” said Bowler.

Kevin Hustler, chief executive officer of the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber, said about 6 000 participants of the championship will be a massive boost for the local economy.

“I have full confidence that we can meet all the requirements of the participants and visitors.

“I know organisers earlier this year expressed concern about the metro’s roads, and I’m sure the provincial and municipal government will recognise the urgency of the matter.”

Athol Trollip, mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay metro, said preparation in the run-up to the event will start as soon as possible.

This includes upgrade work to the Schoenmakerskop road, which will be used mainly for the cycling leg.

According to Kristoff Adelbert, Trollip’s spokesperson, the cost to upgrade the Schoenmakerskop road will amount to about R250 million. “Talks have yet to be held, but we will probably try to obtain money from the provincial government’s budget, because the opportunity is greater than the local municipality.”

Mandlakazi Skefile, head of Nelson Mandela Bay tourism, also voiced her excitement about the news, saying they would use the sporting event to promote the city as a world destination.

“We will make sure the city and environs’ unique tourist attractions are easily accessible for international visitors.

“Planning for wider tourism opportunities that would help to keep international visitors here even longer after the World Championships, will start soon,” said Skefile.

  • The Half Ironman or 70.3 consists of a 1.9 km ocean swim, 90km bike race and 21.1 km run. The “full” Ironman’s distances are 3.8 km swem, 180.2km bike race and a road race of 42.2 km.

Blue Flag status for three Nelson Mandela Bay beaches

Meanwhile, it was also announced last week that three beaches in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro have achieved the coveted Blue Flag status.

Roslyn Baatjies reports that altogether seven Eastern Cape beaches can proudly fly the prestigious blue flag, which symbolises excellence.

The Wildlife and Environment Society South Africa (Wessa) disclosed the country’s Blue Flag beaches last Friday.

The Blue Flag beaches in Nelson Mandela Bay, which again meet the stringent Blue Flag requirements, are Humewood, Kings and Hobie beaches. These requirements include excellent bathroom facilities, good (sea) water quality, an educational centre and well-trained lifeguards.

“We’ve spent 16 years involved in the project and the status places us on the world tourism map. It’s good to be measured against international standards,” said Kithi Ngesi, Director of Beaches and Resorts at the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality.

According to her, provision was made in the department’s capital budget to renovate the Brighton and Wells Estate beaches so that they too can apply for Blue Flag status.

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