By Bejay Browne
PREPARATIONS are underway in Paphos ahead of a Sprint and Olympic triathlon due to be held in the coastal town for the first time later this month.
Organised by Bikin Cyprus Events Management and Paphos municipality, the ‘Pafos Triathlon’ will be held on April 26 and is in its third year. It was previously held in Geroskipou.
This year will see athletes compete in two categories, the ‘Sprint Triathlon’ which consists of a 750m swim, one lap of a 20km course on a bike, and one lap of a 5km run. The athlete’s competing in the ‘Olympic Triathlon’, will have to complete a 1,500 km swim, followed by 2 laps of a 20km bike race, and two laps of a 5 km run.
Head of the Paphos municipality sport and youth committee, Chrysanthos Savvides, told the Cyprus Mail that the event highlights the ability of Paphos to establish itself firmly on the sports tourism map, especially during off peak tourist periods.
“Paphos is aiming to become a centre for all different sorts of high quality sports tourism and we have a lot to offer. This is one of the events which we are supporting to promote Paphos to athletes from many different countries.”
Savvides said that hundreds of athletes from all over the world are already signed up to take part in the ‘exciting event’ which will see them compete in three disciplines – a swim, flat bike race and run.
This year’s event promises to be larger than last year with around 300 athletes taking part, he said.
“Cyprus is taking part, as well as the UK, Russia, Poland, Holland, Greece, Sweden and many others,” he said.
The race venue this year is the municipal baths (Bania) in Kato Paphos, which is in the heart of the tourist area.
Savvides noted that the presence of hundreds of athletes in Paphos from abroad, will significantly boost tourism at a time of low tourist arrivals.
“Paphos is the ideal place as a destination for triathlons and we hope to attract many other European clubs and athletes in the future.”
Savvides said that organisers are hoping that the public attend the event to show their support for the athletes and enjoy the excitement of the day.
The start for the Sprint distance will be given at 7.30am followed by an 8am start for the Olympic distance.
Strict rules apply to the event which will kick off when a signal of ‘Get set’ will be heard, followed by a horn and a mass start into the water. Triathletes will be swimming in any stroke they chose and the temperature of water will be measured on race morning, and announced 60 minutes before the start. All participants will be given an electronic timing chip, clipped onto their ankle.
All of the categories will start together at each distance and all the athletes must start after the horn or they will receive a 1 minute penalty.
The finish line will be at the municipal baths area, where an awards ceremony will be held after the event.