“India is a huge market going through fitness transformation,” says IRONMAN Asia Managing Director Geoff Meyer
Bengaluru: Ahead of India’s first-ever IRONMAN 70.3 Goa scheduled to be held on 20 October 2019 where over 1000 participants from 27 countries are gearing up to vie for the greatest endurance challenge, Geoff Meyer, Managing Director, IRONMAN Asia said this was the right time to bring the event to India, thanks to its fitness transformation.
“India was always a place where we wanted to have a presence and we had many requests to bring IRONMAN to India but honestly, we didn’t think the timing was right. But over the past few years, we have seen tremendous sporting developments and saw that marathon running was already strong and growing dramatically. India is obviously a huge market going through a fitness transformation,” he expressed.
IRONMAN is considered arguably the most challenging and prestigious endurance triathlon event worldwide and over the years, India has made its presence felt at IRONMAN events across the globe.
One of the frontrunners of the Indian athletes brigade at IRONMAN races globally was Deepak Raj, 42, who completed 20 IRONMAN Full Distance Triathlons between 2008 and 2017. An IT professional turned fitness enthusiast who represented India at the IRONMAN World Championships in 2017, Raj is also the co-founder of Yoska — a fit-tech company based out of Bengaluru that has had a huge role to play in bringing the event to India. “Deepak understands the sport very well and shares our values so I knew the partnership was strong and together we would deliver an athlete experience to be proud of,” expressed Meyer.
He adds, “Five years ago, I counted on one hand how many Indian athletes were competing with us but we are seeing small groups race around the world. We have IRONMAN Malaysia coming up in a few weeks with over 40 Indians taking part and IRONMAN Austria and Sweden both had over 25 Indians. This is fantastic and will only keep growing.”
While there was a cap on the number of participants to take part in the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Goa, Meyer said there is immense potential for the event to grow in the coming years. “We capped the first year’s event to 1000 participants because we want to get it right and produce a safe, fantastic athlete experience. We could have taken many more but that’s not what it’s about. We have one chance to show India what IRONMAN is all about. Athletes love travelling, they know the quality of the events and look for new experiences whether it is cultural, destination or course-wise. So I know India will be a popular destination for many international athletes,” Geoff opined.
Commenting on the association, Rudra Prasad Nanjundappa, 41 co-founder of Yoska said, “It is indeed a matter of delight and honour for us to be working with Geoff and the IRONMAN team in putting together IRONMAN 70.3 Goa. We are extremely thankful to the Government of Goa for its unconditional support in making this dream a reality.”
An amateur runner himself, and senior corporate professional turned fit-tech entrepreneur, he added, “What makes this even more special for us is that we are organising this close on the heels of the Fit India Movement, launched by our Honourable Prime Minister in August. We believe every participant is a celebrity who will inspire millions of Indians to adopt a fitter lifestyle. We hope that this event is our humble endeavour to add to Goa’s contribution to the Fit India movement.”
IRONMAN 70.3 Goa where participants will have to swim 1.9KM, cycle 90KM and run 21.1KM has received an overwhelming response among Indian triathletes and has over 800 Indian participants who have registered from Bengaluru, Delhi NCR, Mumbai among other cities.
“It was our dream to bring IRONMAN to India and provide the fast-growing triathlete community in the country an opportunity to race at home. It was overwhelming to see the interest among International athletes as it not only gives them a first-time opportunity to race in India but also experience Goa’s hospitality and enjoy its beautiful beaches. I’d really like to thank Geoff, the IRONMAN team and the Indian triathlon community for putting their hands up to bring together India’s first IRONMAN race at IRONMAN 70.3 Goa” added Deepak, an IRONMAN certified coach who continues to be an inspiration to the triathlon community not only in India but globally as well.