Bintan Raya Festival
Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations began after the holy month of Ramadan! From 15-17 June (10am – 8pm), locals and friends from abroad enjoyed cultural performances and had great fun participating in the Bintan Raya Festival at Plaza Lagoi. Various activities including Payung Geulis Painting, Batik Hand Painting and Angklung Interactive were available onsite for visitors to experience Indonesia’s art and culture with loved ones.
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Bintan Triathlon 2018
The 14th running edition of Asia’s premier multisports festival, Bintan Triathlon 2018, once again returned to the property of Nirwana Gardens. The resort is one of the top-notch properties which makes the Indonesian island of Bintan the ideal location for a destination triathlon.
On the elite side of the event, Andy Wibowo and Jennifer Zenker displayed swim-bike-run master prowess to win the men’s and women’s Olympic Distance (OD) races in style.
Participants came from all parts of the world, with 46 nationalities represented among the 1,300 athletes who took part in at least one of six events on the 2018 Bintan Triathlon Festival race card.
The newest event on the Bintan Triathlon program, the Sunset Swim Classic is displayed rising popularity with numbers up 120% this year from 2017. Despite being positioned as a family friendly adjunct to the main triathlon events with entries open to those aged 12 years and up, the number of skin suits on display testified to it being treated as a competitive race. The warm waters of a sheltered bay just off the Nirwana Sea Sports Centre provided the perfect location for the 1,000m swim, which started just as the sun began its final path to the horizon at 5pm.
The first of the festival’s four triathlon events, the Sprint Distance race, started at 9am on the Saturday morning. Registration numbers were up by a whopping 35% as nearly 350 competitors, many of them complete rookies aiming to complete the 750m swim/20km bike/5km run challenge. Conditions were perfect, with the sea once again pancake flat as the male wave of swimmers dashed into the water.
The last event of the day was the traditional Fun Duo Challenge, which sees pairs of relatives or friends tasked with running 1.5km, swimming 150m and then most importantly, devising a creative way of crossing the finish line. The Fun Duo Challenge gives the kids too young to take part in the triathlon a chance to participate and the youngest person to do so on Sunday was four-and-half-year-old Toby Siepmann.
Full results from the 2018 Bintan Triathlon can be found at https://www.bintantriathlon.com/race-results/ .
The Bintan Triathlon will return next year, but a bit later than its traditional May slot, with the dates set for June 7 to 9. Details of that race will be posted soon at www.bintantriathlon.com .
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Tour de Bintan 2018
At the conclusion of three days of thrilling action on Sunday, the Tour de Bintan crowned 14 general classification champions, awarded 14 UCI jerseys and sent over 200 racers home with hard-earned tickets to the 2018 world amateur cycling championships.
While the 2018 edition marked the eighth running of the Tour de Bintan, it was just the second time that Southeast Asia’s premier amateur cycling tour also incorporated two qualifying races for the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships. The move by race organisers MetaSport to join the UCI Gran Fondo World Series (GFWS) in 2017 appears to have been an unqualified success, with vastly increased participatory numbers for the Tour de Bintan last year and then another boost in numbers for the just-concluded race.
Indeed, the 2018 edition saw 1,200 registrations, a rise of 15 percent from last year, and within that number more than 100 different teams and clubs and 49 nationalities were represented, drawn not just from Southeast Asia, but from all 30 countries around the world.
And who can blame them for coming to Bintan. Just an hour’s ferry ride from the easy accessible travel hub of Singapore, the island offers an idyllic setting for three days of challenging racing that takes place on well-paved, traffic-light roads that cut through the spectacular countryside and stunning coastal sections of the tropical Indonesian island. And when not being wowed by the lush greenery and golden beaches, the series of small towns and villages that dot the race courses offer the racers a glimpse of rural life in Bintan, complete with the unforgettably enthusiastic screaming of the school kids that throng the roads.
And that’s just the racing. The Tour de Bintan is a true destination event, headquartered as it is in the luxurious Nirwana Gardens Resort, which along with the plethora of other beachside hotels in the special Bintan Resorts zone, make the tour the perfect race to bring along non-cycling family and friends for a relaxing holiday.
The Tour de Bintan still features its traditional three stages and crowns overall champions after the three days of racing, but with GFWS status, the first two stages are also stand-alone events: the Gran Fondo Individual Time Trial and the Gran Fondo Classic. Both of these races reward the top 25 percent of finishers in each age group with coveted tickets to the world championships, which this year take place in the Italian city of Varese from August 30 to September 2.
The Tour de Bintan is one of 21 qualifying races for the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships, and one of only three in Asia, alongside the Niseko Classic in Japan and the Dubai First Gran Fondo. But such has been the immediate success of the Tour de Bintan as a GFWS race, it’s already under consideration as a future site for the world amateur championships, according to GFWS manager Erwin Vervecken, who was guest of honour at the Tour be Bintan gala dinner on Saturday night.
The world champs are currently held in Europe three years out of every four, but Vervecken said that such is the global growth in road racing as an amateur sport, that the frequency of non-European locations for the finals will increase.
The lure of world championship qualification is far from the only attraction of the Tour de Bintan, though. Both weekend days of the 2018 event offered non-competitive rides featuring shorter versions of the main events, with the idea being to give newcomers a taste of the Tour de Bintan experience and perhaps a stepping stone to the competitive races in future years.
Saturday saw the 82km-long Gran Fondo Challenge, while on Sunday it was the Gran Fondo Discovery, which tasked its riders to complete 55km. A full 28 percent of the 2018 Tour de Bintan’s total participatory numbers came from these two rides. Cyclists had the option of signing up for either of the shorter rides or both.
Making the non-competitive rides even more accessible was the fact they could be done on a day-trip-from-Singapore basis, with all transport logistics taken care of; 130 riders took up this option. Buses brought the Gran Fondo Challenge riders to and from the Simpang Lagoi start/finish area, but for the Gran Fondo Discovery ride, things were made even easier it started from the ferry terminal grounds. It finished at Nirwana Gardens, allowing its 160 participants to join in the full post-tour celebrations.
The Tour de Bintan will return from March 22-24, 2019. For full results of the 2018 race, visit www.tourdebintan.com.
Tour de Bintan is an event owned and organised by MetaSport, a leading endurance sport management company based in Singapore and with operations in Singapore, Hong Kong and Indonesia. MetaSport specializes in event management and training services in the sport of cycling, running, swimming and triathlon.
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