Sports. It’s an indescribable roller-coaster ride of emotions that can take you from rock bottom to soaring high. Probably the most epic example that sums up all this passion is the training sequence scene from the movie, “Rocky”. With its legendary accompanying song that has lyrics we all know too well, “It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the fight.” In Mauritius, this passion is concentrated over 2, 040 km2 of land and the surrounding sea. Whether you’re trail running through untouched nature, golfing on sculptured courses, or kitesurfing with the sea breeze, there’s a sensational moment awaiting everyone. Welcome to sports island… welcome to our playground!
Nowadays, sports is so much so a lifestyle that it has stormed in on the tourism industry. From the mid to late 20th century, holidays have been almost exclusively synonymous with the beach. This trend carried on into the new millennium, although recently, we’ve seen a clear shift from passive travelling experiences to active ones. More and more people, all over the world, are now hunting for destinations where they can immerse themselves in an unforgettable experience, and for many, the best way to accomplish this is through sporting events.
Over the last 15 years, sports tourism in Mauritius has rapidly evolved from hosting a few scattered events here and there, to becoming a full-out athletic playground. All year round, the island now hosts an extensive range of highly anticipated annual events that attract both locals and foreigners alike.
Golf has existed in Mauritius since the mid-19th century, with international golf tournaments being played annually ever since 1994. Today, the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open is one of the biggest golfing events of the year in the Indian Ocean region. Co-sanctioned by European Tour, the Asian Tour and the Sunshine tour, the 2018 edition, hosted at Four Seasons Golf Club, at Anahita, saw the participation of 156 professional golfers from around the world. Likewise, it’s these award-winning golf courses, like Heritage Golf Club, which attract thousands of avid golfers to the island every year.
Over the last decade, a string of trailing events has been established in Mauritius. The island now hosts a full calendar of trails with at least one taking place each month. The Heritage Trail takes participants on a breathtaking journey to discover the natural beauty of the Heritage Bel Ombre estate and its surroundings. Whether you’re looking for a challenge or just want to go on an adventure with some friends, the event, open to all, features three main trails of 10 km, 21 km and 55 km as well as a 3-km fun jog for the kids.
In 2009, in an effort to organise a stage race in Mauritius, a couple of local mountain biking enthusiasts created the South Tropical Challenge. The race offers mountain bikers the opportunity to compete in the wildest part of the island and combines a variety of slopes with a diversity of landscapes.
The Indian Ocean Triathlon has been running for the last ten years. Combining swimming, biking and running, this event proposes a more varied and complete sporting experience all while offering the participant the opportunity to enjoy the scenery. The 2018 edition of the event hosted 175 passionate triathletes from different parts of the world, including four international champions, namely Cyril Viennot, Laurent Jalabert, Nathalie Simon and Toumy Degham.
The island has become a popular kitesurfing destination, attracting many enthusiasts to visit the island mainly to partake in an epic kitesurfing session or competition. Today, a handful of kitesurfing events takes place annually, with peak season set between June and September for the windiest experience.
Created in 2017, the Necker Pro Squash Open Mauritius is currently the main squash event on the island. The 2018 edition of this international professional tournament was held at Bagatelle Mall in an all-glass court and was, once again, a hit for all.