KUALA LUMPUR, April 5 — Several international sports events including Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) in Pulau Langkawi has given a positive contribution to the local economic development of Langkawi and Malaysia in general, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The prime minister who mooted the idea of Asia’s prestigious cycling race back in 1993, revealed that the inclusion of the legend island as one of the route in this year’s edition, will showcase the beauty and uniqueness of Malaysia and Langkawi to the world, besides becoming the hub for sports tourism.
Pulau Langkawi will be hosting the penultimate round and the final stage (stage eight) of 2019 LTdL race starting tomorrow until April 13.
“Today, that hope, dream or ambition is a reality. This year alone, Langkawi is host to numerous international sporting events — rugby, sailing, beach volleyball, dragon boat race, tennis and marathon — to name just a few.
“And these are annual events that have been coming back to Langkawi for many years, bringing with them not only competitors but spectators – all who would be tourists in the end,” Dr Mahathir said in his speech at the 2019 LTdL team presentation at Esplanade KLCC, here, tonight.
Also present at the ceremony were the prime minister’s wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali and Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman.
In this regard, Tun Dr Mahathir said the government can save millions in ad-buys or other promotions with the exposure of 2019 LTdL flag off event, tomorrow, which will feature the Petronas Twin Towers and also will be telecast live to nearly 400 million viewers, including via online platforms.
“I trust that the organisers, besides taking into consideration the standard technical requirements, have chosen scenic and iconic routes that would make the race exciting and a pleasure to watch,” he added.
The prime minister also believes the inclusion of Genting Highlands, dubbed as the “Queen Stage” of LTdL, with the riders going against nature with the steep climb to the hilltop, will further enhance the area as one of Malaysia’s premier holiday destinations in the region.
Dr Mahathir added that LTdL is not only just a race, but it is a platform for the Malaysian people to be united together as a nation and putting aside differences in ideology, background or race.
“We must be united if we want to bring the country to the next level and through sports that spurs passion and excitement — unity can certainly be pursued and promoted,” the prime minister added.
The 2019 LTdL, themed Sports Unite, Cycling Contributes, will feature eight stages, covering a total distance of 1,225.8km. — Bernama