Come Sunday, February 24th and all eyes will be on the scenic coastline that envelops Colombo, Sri Lanka’s enchanting capital, as the cream of the world’s triathletes will take on the challenge of the IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon.
It is a field chockfull of talent, with over 730 triathletes from 58 different countries vie for the top honours in Asia’s most influential triathlon competition. Also taking the plunge with the field of ironmen and women will be a strong 22-member contingent from the Middle East, underlining the pulling power of the event. Drawn from the UAE, Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt and Qatar, these triathletes will be among those competing to gaining a top 40 finish that will give them a shot at the 70.3 World Championships in Nice, France later this year.
As Official Airline Partner of the Ironman 70.3 triathlon, SriLankan Airlines have been flying in a large number of support contingents, elite athletes and their families as well as international observers and hundreds of fans of this sport that poses the ultimate challenges to an athlete’s endurance and stamina.
“The Colombo 70.3 triathlon is an international sporting event from the top drawer and it is indeed a privilege for SriLankan Airlines to be closely involved in the event’s success,” said SriLankan Airlines, General Manager Marketing, Mr. Saminda Perera. “The championship not only demonstrates Sri Lanka’s mega event organizational abilities but also showcases the island’s myriad delights to the international audience assembled here for the triathlon.”
The race begins with a single-loop, 1.9km swim starting at the beach adjoining Galle Face Green, followed by a flat and fast 90km bike course and a 21.1 km running course that offers scenic country views and a fantastic finish in front of Galle Face Green.
The top five participating countries in IRONMAN 70.3 Colombo are India with 94 triathletes, Great Britain with 55, Australia with 40, France with 34 and Japan with 24. Some of the other nations that will be represented at the triathlon are USA, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Germany, Russia, Maldives and Sri Lanka.
The average age of this year’s athletes is 38, with the oldest participant being 76 years of age and the youngest a mere 18 years. A significant majority of the participants are male, with women constituting 24% of the total number of athletes. This year Ironman is encouraging women’s participation in the sport and have allocated 25 slots from Sri Lanka exclusively for women that finish first to take part in the 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Nice, France.
SriLankan Airlines’ participation as the Official Airline Partner of the event is designed to promote Sri Lankan as a preferred host venue for international sporting events and by positioning Colombo as the destination of choice for iconic sporting events.
In addition to attracting top triathletes from around the world, the event generates global media exposure across broadcast media, sports channels and print and online media with 15 billion media impressions annually and the series of events around the world attract over 6 million+ spectators.