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Ironman evening at the Alliance Française of PE

IronmanIronman 2012: The Alliance Française of Port Elizabeth and Nelson Mandela University welcomed French-speaking athletes in Port Elizabeth.

In partnership with the French Embassy in South Africa represented by Mr. Patrick Parrot and the French Department of the NMMU run by Dr Hilda Thomas, the Alliance Française of Port Elizabeth hosted a gala evening, on Thursday 19 April 2012: about a hundred people gathered in a cozy atmosphere and enjoyed a cocktail as well as entertainment by a jazz band and live interviews with the athletes participating in the Ironman.

Last Sunday 22 April, as every year for the past eight years now, a spectacular sporting event was held in Port Elizabeth: the Ironman. 1702 athletes crossed the starting line at 7am to brave the waves of Nelson Mandela Bay. After swimming approximately 4km to reach the beach they continued their efforts in the 180km long cycling race. Despite harsh climatic conditions, many managed to qualify for the final race of the day, a 42 km marathon. This is an event which brings together international sports professionals and enthusiasts. The extensive media coverage helps to promote Port Elizabeth to tri-athletes from all over the world.

Second and third year students from the Departments of French and Media of the NMMU participated in  relaying information by publishing a blog describing meetings with these extraordinary athletes for the third year in a row. What a wonderful opportunity for the students to put their knowledge into practice: research on the organization of this event, interviews with athletes in front of the camera, writing articles in English and French, filming and video editing ... Work typically expected of a journalist, an allusion to the action-oriented learning approach!

This evening, a symbol of cultural diversity, could not have taken place without the participation of the Alliance Française of Port Elizabeth. Eight athletes were welcomed.  Special mention must be made of France’s Nicolas Gracco Lay who arrived in the windy and friendly city (Port Elizabeth’s nickname) in a Citroen BX (model 1986, 1 million miles on the clock!) after a 25000 km journey through Africa. Canadian, French, Belgian and South African athletes took part in bilingual interviews conducted by the students, who were dressed to the nines for the occasion.

This fabulous experience will most definitely be repeated...

We wish to thank all who were involved in the organization of meetings between students and athletes, including the French teachers and the team at the Alliance.

And because the objective is to reach the finish: Congratulations to all the finalists and see you next year!

 Justin Roberts: 1322nd
 James Flanagan: 619th
 Audrey Syren: 547th
 Eddy Moreau: 157th
 Nicolas Gracco Lay: 1158th
 Stefaan Vervisch: 35th

Don’t miss the next major event on the Alliance’s calendar: the Richmond Hill music festival.

See you in Port Elizabeth!
A bientôt!

Lisa MARTIN, Culture Intern
Carole VICENT, MAEE Intern

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