In Sport

Victoria Premier Ted Baillieu

Melbourne To Host World’s Toughest Athletes In Frankston Ironman Spectacular

Victor P Taffa

Victoria has scored another major events coup with today’s announcement that Melbourne will host the newly-created Ironman Asia Pacific Championship Melbourne for three years starting in March 2012.

Launching the new event with top Victorian triathletes Tiffany Loftus-Hills and Ricky Jeffs on the banks of the Yarra this morning, Premier Ted Baillieu said securing the Ironman Asia Pacific Championship reinforced Melbourne’s reputation as Australia’s home of sport and a leading international city for major events.

“The race will join a calendar of outstanding and successful international events and we’re proud to be selected as the host city for the inaugural race.” Premier Baillieu said.

“This outstanding race will show off Port Phillip Bay and our wonderful city to great advantage to a global audience.”

The Ironman Asia Pacific Championship Melbourne will be one of three regional Championship events and joins the Ironman US Championship in New York and the Ironman European Championship in Frankfurt as Ironman’s premier qualifying events.

Ironman is arguably the most physically and mentally challenging single-day endurance event in international sport.

The Ironman Asia Pacific Championship Melbourne will challenge athletes by pushing their bodies to the limit as they compete in a 3.8 km swim along the Frankston foreshore, followed by a 180.2 km bike leg on EastLink and concluding with a 42.195 km marathon distance run from Frankston to St. Kilda.

The Ironman Asia Pacific Championship Melbourne is expected to generate an estimated economic benefit of approximately $10 Million each year, with strong tourism and broadcast benefits for Victoria.

Ironman Asia Pacific Championship Melbourne will see the world’s best men’s and women’s athletes compete on what could be the world’s fastest Ironman course, and will be free for all Victorians to watch.

“Australia currently has four active Ironman World Champions racing across the globe and this event provides our elite athletes with a championship race on home turf.” Premier Baillieu said.

“Chris McCormack, Mirinda Carfrae, Craig Alexander and Michellie Jones all active athletes have won the Ironman World Championships, with Victoria’s Luke Bell a former top five finisher at an Ironman World Championship and competing in Kona, Hawaii later this year.”

“Through a national and international television broadcast, the Ironman Asia Pacific Championship will celebrate and showcase our bayside city, from Frankston to St. Kilda.”

World Triathlon Corporation Chief Executive Officer Andrew Messick said Melbourne was the ideal venue to stage this prestigious race, the newest event on the global Ironman circuit.

“We thank the Victorian Coalition Government and the Victorian Major Events Company for their support and we look forward to staging an exceptional Ironman event here in Melbourne over the next three years.” Mr. Messick said.

“Melbourne is known the world over for delivering high-calibre events, and Ironman athletes should prepare themselves for one of the greatest experiences of their sporting careers.”

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