When it comes to sports, the first thing that comes to mind is typically about health and fitness. But what most don’t know is that it goes way beyond the field of being physical. Sports play an important role in driving the development of cities, enabling it to serve as a catalyst for improved living. It has the power to strengthen communities, keep residents “up and running” in an active society, and even promote economic growth. That’s why in Iskandar Puteri (IP), we aim to create a sustainable sports ecosystem that integrates sport facilities and sporting initiatives to bring people together — like the recent Challenge Iskandar Puteri.
But what makes sports and recreational activities so special in IP? We sat down with coach and winner of Challenge Iskandar Puteri 2018, Mitch Robins, to talk about his experiences in triathlons and what the future holds for Challenge Iskandar Puteri.
How did you find out about Challenge Iskandar Puteri (CIP)?
The first year the event was on was in 2016. I was living in Phuket at that time, and word got around quickly. I knew the location was close to Singapore, so the travel was easy and it looked like a nice, new place.
What did you think of IP when you first arrived?
When I first arrived, IP just started developing and I thought it had a lot of potential. When I returned in 2017, a lot had changed. There was so much community support and things were developing so quickly. I was impressed.
What do you think of IP as a location for triathlons?
The infrastructure is great with IP being a newly developed city. The temperature is perfect too; it’s always warm and sunny. Facilities like the stadiums, universities, and swimming pools are great for training. What more do you need when you have a
How is IP different from the other places you’ve raced at?
IP is a standout because of its location being so close to Singapore. Comparatively, IP has so much more space and you don’t feel like you’re in a major city. It’s so easily accessible too. The locals are welcoming and very involved, which gives off a great community feel to the event. Even children join in the fun too! That says a lot about an event — if you have local support, you’re doing something right.
You were part of the coaching clinic this year. Do you think that there are potential talents in triathlons here in Southeast Asia (SEA)?
Of course. There is great development in SEA and Malaysia when it comes to sports. From my time at SEA for 10 years, I can really see a huge improvement in local talents. I have a positive feeling that in the Olympics to come, in Tokyo 2020 and the following ones, there will be many Asian countries competing with triathletes from America, China, and UK. But I think the biggest hurdle at the moment is the swimming development, because SEA doesn’t have a strong culture of swimming. But that’s not to say that it’s not going to change.
How do you hope to see CIP evolve?
I’m really confident that CIP will continue to grow. Because of the location and course, I think the participation will be even bigger next year, and in the future, and it’s going to be an exciting time. I love the race — I won last year, so I will always have a special memory of it. And I would love to come back, of course.
You joined your first triathlon back in 2007. How has the journey as a triathlete been for the past 11 years?
To sum it up, it’s been a real privilege. I got to travel the world, make new friends from different countries, learn new languages, see different cultures — basically things that I never had the opportunity to do if I was living and working in Australia. That’s the great thing about sports. It brings people together, and I feel lucky to have found a sport that fosters a real community spirit.
Iskandar Puteri aims to be the sporting destination of choice by 2025. Stay updated with our events and initiatives here.