TAMPA/FRANKFURT (October 6, 2016) – IRONMAN, a Wanda Sports Holding company, announced today that the 2018 IRONMAN® 70.3® World Championship has been awarded to Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa. The event will take place on Saturday, September 1 and Sunday, September 2, 2018 and is the first time IRONMAN has held a World Championship event in Africa.
Located in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, Nelson Mandela Bay first hosted an IRONMAN® event in 2004 and since 2015 has been the site of the Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship. The World Championship is the pinnacle event in the global IRONMAN 70.3 calendar.
“We are delighted to bring the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship to Nelson Mandela Bay,” said Andrew Messick, Chief Executive Officer of IRONMAN. “Tens of thousands athletes have enjoyed racing in our events in South Africa over the past 12 years and we are excited to welcome some of the world’s most elite triathletes to the African continent.”
The IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship event expects to attract more than 6,000 athletes from over 100 global qualifying events in locations such as Austria, Australia, China, France, Spain, South Africa, Sweden and the Americas.
Nicknamed “The Friendly City”, Port Elizabeth was founded in 1820 and has steadily grown into an economic hub of more than 300,000 inhabitants. In 2010, Port Elizabeth played host to eight games of the FIFA World Cup held in the country. It is also considered the southernmost large city on the continent, just south of Cape Town.
"Nelson Mandela Bay is delighted to have been chosen to host the 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship. We are proud of our excellent track record in hosting the Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship - it's on the strength of this, our climate, our beautiful beaches and our tourism potential that we are now in a position to host this prestigious international event. We look forward to welcoming the world's athletes to the Bay,” said Athol Trollip, Nelson Mandela Bay Executive Mayor.
The IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship is part of a week-long festival that will include a range of lifestyle events for the community and visitors to enjoy.
“We are excited to welcome triathletes from throughout our region and around the world and show them true South African hospitality. For more than a decade IRONMAN has had the privilege of working with Nelson Mandela Bay and the city of Port Elizabeth to put up world-class events,” said Hans-Peter Zurbruegg, Managing Director of IRONMAN Europe, Middle East and Africa.
The 2017 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship is taking place on September 9 and 10, 2017 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
For more information about the event, please visit www.ironman.com/triathlon/events/ironman-70.3/world-championship.
A Wanda Sports Holdings company, IRONMAN operates a global portfolio of events that includes the IRONMAN® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® 70.3® Triathlon Series, 5150™ Triathlon Series, Iron Girl®, IRONKIDS®, six of nine International Triathlon Union World Triathlon Series races, road cycling events including the UCI Velothon Majors Series, mountain bike races, premier marathons and other multisport races. IRONMAN’s events, together with all other Wanda Sports Holdings events, provide more than 680,000 participants annually the benefits of endurance sports through the company’s vast offerings. The iconic IRONMAN® Series of events is the largest participation sports platform in the world. Since the inception of the IRONMAN® brand in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines at the world’s most challenging endurance races. Beginning as a single race, IRONMAN has grown to become a global sensation with more than 260 events across 42 countries. For more information, visit www.ironman.com.
IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship
In 2006 the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship was held in Clearwater, Florida becoming another test for the world’s elite triathletes. Since that auspicious beginning, the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship has grown in stature and popularity moving first to Henderson, Nevada in 2011, where athletes encountered a more challenging terrain and then to Mont-Tremblant, Quebec—its first stop on the new "global rotation" for the championship. The event reached European soil for the first time ever in 2015, with Zell am See, Austria, hosting an epic and memorable event. Earlier this year, the race moved from the mountains to the beaches of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. More than 130,000 athletes participated in a season of qualifying races for the championship, a series which consists of over 85 events in locations such as Australia, Germany, South Africa and Switzerland. Approximately 3,000 registered athletes from around the world took part in this prestigious race. Participants in the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship ranged in age from 19 to 75-plus, and represented over 80 countries. In 2017, the event will return to the United States, taking place in Chattanooga, Tennessee and will become a two-day race for the first time.
About Wanda Sports Holding
Wanda Sports Holding is the world’s leading sports business entity, founded to capture the opportunities in the global sports industry and to contribute to the prosperous international sports landscape – in three key areas: 1) Spectator Sports (media & marketing business), 2) Participation Sports (active lifestyle business), 3) Services (digital, production and service business). Led by President & CEO Philippe Blatter, Wanda Sports Holding incorporates the international sports marketing company Infront Sports & Media, the iconic endurance brand IRONMAN, and Wanda Sports China. The headquarters are in Guangzhou, China.