International sports village in Kalpitiya | Sunday Observer

International sports village in Kalpitiya

Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera
Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera

An international sports village will be developed in Kalpitiya to promote sports tourism in the country, said Minister of Sports Dayasiri Jayasekara speaking at the launch of the ‘Ironman World Championship 2018’ in Colombo last week.

Acquisition of land for the sports village is currently under discussion according to the minister.

“We hope to complete the acquisition process soon and commence work on the project,” the minister said. Kalpitiya is a popular tourist destination with a large number of hotels and resorts attracting both local and foreign visitors who love whale watching and the pristine beaches.

The sports village will be a shot in the arm for not only sports but also the promotion of tourism that needs to gain pace and boost the economy of the country, experts said.

Sri Lanka Tourism aims to attract 2.5 million visitors by the end of this year and touch the five million mark by 2020.

The Ironman 70.3 Colombo which is the qualifying round for triathletes to participate in the Ironman World Championship in South Africa will be held on February 25 2018 with 1.9 km sea swim, 90km bike ride and a 21.2km run- all to be completed by a triathlete within 8.5 hours.

The event is organized by Sri Lanka Tourism and Pro-Am Serendib (Pvt) Ltd. The event is open for teams as well. The Ironkids, an event exclusively for kids will be held on February 24 to encourage children to take part and earn the title of Ironkids.

The Ironman Triathlon series of events is the largest participation sports platform in the world. The multisport event anchored on sun, sea and sand has a history of over 37 years.

According to the Ministry of Tourism over 450 athletes have registered with around 1,200 family and friends confirming from 53 countries to attend the event. A minimum of 300 liaison officers and 100 officials from Sri Lanka will be trained to officiate at the event.

Colombo city hotels and urban lifestyle businesses will benefit from the event which is expected to attract over 2,000 affluent tourists for five days occupying 1,000 rooms per night in Colombo and another 5,000 rooms outside Colombo.

Ironman Colombo will position Sri Lanka as the ‘hub for sports tourism’ in the region by 2020 according to sports experts.