German delighted that city will host 2018 Ironman World Championship
Taking part in the 2018 Ironman World Championship in Port Elizabeth will feel like home away from home, says German professional triathlete Johannes Moldan.
The 28-year-old, who has been coming to Port Elizabeth for four years to train during the European winter, said he had always hoped the city would host the event.
Nelson Mandela Bay was given the thumbs up to host the championship by Ironman Global last month.
It will attract 16 000 athletes – about 6 000 more than the Ironman African Championship, which the city hosts annually.
An excited Moldan said he fell in love with South Africa the first time he set foot in the country.
“I have been coming to PE for four years now, ” he said.
“I usually come around October and leave in February to train and race. Then I come back for the Ironman African Championship. “So, I am a bit like a local here in South Africa, I love this country. The first time I came here was in 2013 for the race in East London.”
Moldan, who won the TriStar 111 in Monaco in 2011, said having the world champs in South Africa would play into his hands.
“I hope that I will qualify for the 2018 world championship because for me it will be like a home race,” he said.
“I regard PE as my home. I know every pothole on the course. I hope they fix the potholes for the world champs,” he joked.
“This is something that I have been wanting and now that it has finally happened it’s like a dream come true for me.”
Athletes in this year’s Ironman African Championship complained about the bumpy bike course.
Councillor Andrew Whitfield, who is a member of the mayoral committee for economic development, tourism and agriculture, said fixing the roads was a priority for the planning and execution for the event.
“I have spoken to the city manager with regards to this issue,” Whitfield said.
“We have discussed it with Ironman. We are going to make sure [the] road is in top condition and the athletes experience a world event.”
Moldan will not be taking part when the 5150 Triathlon makes its debut at Kings Beach on Sunday.
The triathlon takes the format of an Olympic distance triathlon featuring a 1.5km swim, 40km bike ride and 10km run.
This totals a distance of 51.50km, which is how the name of the event is derived.