Last week adventure racing fans received disappointing news. In light of the recent terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka, the Adventure Racing World Series has announced that it was cancelling its 2019 World Championship race that was to be held there. The location of the event was announced to much fanfare late last year, and the championship was to be be held November 5-16. Now, the ARWS season will end in September with a race in Croatia instead, although there are demonstration races in Colombia and Malaysia on the schedule too.
Sri Lanka has been faced with a lot of uncertainty and unrest since a series of bombings took place in Churches there on April 21 –– Easter Sunday. More than 250 people were killed in those attacks with the Islamic State claiming responsibility. This has led to weeks of tension and fear while the military there worked to root out militant elements. Because of the continued threats of violence and general security concerns, the ARWS staff decided it was in the best interest of their team, the athletes, volunteers, and spectators to the pull the plug on the race.
In a press release announcing the cancellation the organization’s director Craig Bycroft is quoted as saying, “My thoughts are with the people of Sri Lanka first and foremost. I’ve visited several times preparing the event and made friends there, some of whom have had family members affected by the atrocities. It is heartbreaking to see the impact these totally unexpected attacks are having on the people and the country.”
He went on to add, “The decision to cancel the event has been the hardest we have ever had to make, and one which has been taken with a heavy heart. We were looking forward to an amazing event in Sri Lanka but it’s an inescapable fact the terrorist attacks have changed the security and political situation in the country. We have to put safety first, and in the interests of all concerned felt it best to make a swift decision.”
Bycroft and his team had visited Sri Lanka in February to scout the potential route for the race. He says that teams had already signed up and were making plans to be there in November. The championship race would have attracted 60+ teams from around the world for the six-day event.
You can read the full press release, including Craig’s comments regarding the cancellation here.
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