The Goa government should not provide all facilities free directly to the host organisation like Ironman 70.3 event, a commercial triathlon race if organised and held in Goa by non-Goans, says Roque Dias, former ED of Sports Authority of India.
"A single entry into the Ironman 70.3 event was Rs 32,000. This excludes the cost of stay, travel, transport of cycles, equipment, etc., while the entry fee for the relay was over Rs 40,000. Thus, on entry fee alone the organisers have raked in over Rs 5 crore," Dias said.
Some 1450 participated in the triathlon race including foreign sportspersons from 33 countries, participants completing a 90 km bike ride, 1.9km swim and 21km running on the roads. With Herbalife Nutrition brand as the official sponsor of the event organised by a Bangalore-based entity, it is indeed a windfall for organisers because the quantum of sponsorship money remains a secret.
Ironman 70.3 is not a recognised event by the International Triathlon Federation nor recognised by the Indian Triathlon Association. The results therefore cannot be considered with their timing as World or Olympic record.
Meanwhile, every year Airtel organises an international road race in Delhi, where the company pays a sum of Rs 60 lakh to the Central Government for the use of the outer periphery of JN Stadium and has a Rs 1.25 crore agreement with the Athletic Federation of India for a year to organise the events in India. Besides, top overseas athletes are hosted free of charge in five-star hotels and hefty prizes are provided by the company to the winning participants. This attracts foreign tourists besides scores of Indian participants. This is in diametric contrast to the Ironman 70.3 which collected over Rs 5 crore as entry fee.
There is little doubt that such events ought to be periodically held in Goa, but the Goa govt ought to keep a watch on the revenue generation so that it gets a share of the infrastructure expense. This apart, the funds collected ought to be directed into various State departments, besides taking care of locals demands like the one by Goa Sports Foundation (GSF) that the road leading from NIO to GMC with less traffic area should be cleaned periodically, with no frequent digging, as professional cyclists use their imported cycles costing Rs 2-3 lakh upwards for practise as no velodrome is available in Goa as yet. The cycle tubes of these bikes alone cost Rs 40,000.
In view of the poor road conditions and uninterrupted street lights, the imported cycle gets damaged but no action has been initiated on this issue despite a letter addressed to the chief minister dated January 3, 2022 by GSF.