Monday, 9 July 2018

(The Star) A boon to sports tourism

Endurance racers can look forward to the Xterra Malaysia Special Edition 2018 which will feature its first duathlon in Malaysia.

Taking place in Desaru Coast, Johor, from Sept 28 to 30, the integrated destination resort will provide a scenic coastal landscape for local and international participants.

The special-edition format in the world premiere series of multisport competitions has two categories, duathlon and trail running.

Race organiser Tough Gorilla managing director Azura Zainol Abidin said 1,200 participants were expected to join the event.

“We are also targeting participants from Singapore, Indonesia, China, Vietnam and Thailand.

“It is an honour to organise such events and we would like to thank our partners for having the confidence and trust in us to organise this event,” she said after the launch of Xterra Malaysia Special Edition 2018.

Participants of the duathlon will have to endure a 5km run, 30km of mountain biking and a 5km run to complete the race.

For the trail run, avid runners can participate in the 11km or 21km categories, while athletes travelling with their families can try out the 5km route for a lighter off-road challenge.

Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Seri Mirza Mohammad Taiyab, who was also present at the launch, said such events also promote sports tourism in the country.

“The competition that focuses on health, sports and teamwork in Desaru Coast will help promote the place as a tourist attraction.

“We hope the organisers can achieve, with the targeted participants, to not only bring more tourists to Malaysia, but also attract more events of a similar theme to boost sports tourism,” he said.

Integrated Theme Parks and Attractions chief executive officer and Themed Attractions Resorts and Hotels Sdn Bhd chief commercial officer Philip Whittaker said they were excited to host the series’ first duathlon.

“We are looking forward to hosting all the local and international sportsmen and sportswomen who will be joining the race,” he said.

Xterra Malaysia Special Edition 2018 is supported by the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry, Malaysia Major Events, Johor Tourism and Johor Sports Council.

Desaru Coast is the venue sponsor which has one of the world’s largest water parks – Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark, two golf courses, retail village and conference centre.

It also hosts three international hotel brands under its wing, The Westin Desaru Coast Resort, Anantara Desaru Coast Resort and Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast.