Extreme sports "revitalize" Foz do Iguaçu and shine a spotlight on the city 11.04.2016

Extreme sports

The Ironman 70.3 and the World Slackline Cup are among the many options selected by the destination to draw a new public, arriving to participate or watch. Competitions enjoy support from Itaipu.


When hosting the X Games, in 2013 (the very first time in Latin America), Foz do Iguaçu also began establishing itself as a benchmark in these modalities. From then to now, other competitions - not only "extreme" sports - have also flooded the city. Whether it's marathons to triathlons, the most important part lies in introducing the sporting spirit into the breathtaking local scenery.


A number of sporting events have already been confirmed for this year, such as the Falls Half Marathon, in June, the Itaipu Ironman 70.3 Brazil-Paraguay, in August, the International Marathon, in September, Itaipu River Sup (Standup Paddleboarding), also in September, the Itaipu WakePro, in October, and the Itaipu Slackline World Cup, in November.


The River Sup, WakePro and Slackline extreme modalities are in partnership with Adere (Associaton for the Development of Extreme Sports and Ecology) and Itaipu Binacional. And the partnership is the result of the huge success of slackline competitions, having hosted a world stage in 2015.


Adere's president, Raby Khalil, stated that the 2015 World Slackline Cup was an important lesson, because, besides "filling the space left by major events organized by foreign companies, which left behind very little in terms of legacy for the region", it also constitutes a "wining formula", which will now also be introduced into municipalities neighboring Foz do Iguaçu.


The superintendent of Social Communication for Itaipu, Mr. Gilmar Piolla, stated that last year extreme sports generated spontaneous media estimated at around BRL 120 million. He went on to highlight another important aspect: "Very few Brazilian destinations are able to revitalize their brands, and we have managed to do this thanks to the partnership. Action sports have proven to be a great communicaton tool for the city".


Ironman 70.3


The Ironman 70.3 triathlon is a great example of sports evolution in Foz do Iguaçu. Despite the first edition in 2014 gaining much praise from athletes and organizers, it was decided in 2015 to host all the competitions within Itaipu, which meant using the Paraguayan side of the plant, too (the plant belongs to Brazil and Paraguay). This gave rise to the only binational stage of the 90 competitions part of the world circuit, a particularity that attracts more athletes and favors positive media.


So much so that the number of entries rose from 1,000 to 1,200 and organizers expect competitors from at least 20 other nations (in 2015, 15 countries were represented). At the previous competition, the route was highly praised by the athletes, who enjoyed the opportunity to compete on both side of the Itaipu Dam – in Brazil (Foz do Iguaçu) and in Paraguay (Hernandárias).


Following the example of 2015, the swimming competition will start on the Paraguayan banks of the Itaipu reservoir. Athletes will swim 1.9 km along a rectangular course, in a clockwise direction. Next comes the cycling race (90.1 km), contouring one of the biggest power substations in the world and passing a number of tourist points, like the dam, Itaipu Lake, the Spawning Channel and Central Observatory.


Transition to running will occur at the Visitor's Reception Center, on the Brazilian side. The 21.1 km return course is within the plant's grounds. The course passes spots like Unila, the Dam Builders' Theater and Spillway Observatory. After running along Avenida Beira-Rio, the athletes will race along the main dam banks in the direction of the lateral buttress dam, gaining access to the spillway tunnel. They then return along the same course in the opposite direction.


This is a qualifying stage for the 2017 Pan-American Triathlon – Triclub, in Puerto Rico, while also classifying 30 athletes for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship, in the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA, also in 2017.


In Brazil


Besides the binational stage, the 2016 Ironman circuit is planned for four other locations in Brazil. April 10 is the Ironman 70.3 Palmas (Tocantins); on May 29 is the Ironman Florianópolis (SC); on November 6, Ironman 70.3 Rio de Janeiro (RJ); and, on November 20, Ironman Fortaleza (CE). In total, around 7,000 competitors, Brazilian and foreign, will be battling it out in these events.

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