The government is working towards making Goa a premier hub for sports tourism, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said on Thursday.

Jointly addressing a press conference with the organisers of Ironman 70.3, a gruelling international sporting event which involves a race spanning across three disciplines, he said: “In the years ahead, we intend to shape Goa as a premier hub for sports tourism. We are hosting the National Games in October 2020. It is not just governments, but other private organisations too which have preferred to host sporting events in the state.”

Goa, a soccer-loving state, is already a leading beach tourism destination and attracted nearly eight million tourists last year.

The 70.3 Ironman race begins at the Miramar beach in Panaji with a 2×950 m loop swim course in the seas off the beach, followed by a three-lap x 30 km bike route passing through the state capital, before the last leg of the race, which is a 21 km three-loop run course. As many as 1,000 participants from 23 countries are expected to participate in the endurance race scheduled for 20 October.