Goa made its mark as the events capital of India in 2023. And those who graced these events created unforgettable moments and took back happy memories to last a lifetime.
G20 meetings, 6th edition of the Serendipity Arts Festival, India Bike Week, 37th National Games, Goa Ironman and Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour are some of the events that successfully tested Goa’s organisational capacity.
Gomantak Times Digital revisits some of these events that gave brand Goa the added advantage and showed the world once again that the State is much more than beaches, booze and drugs, a wrong image that has spread across the world.
GROUP OF TWENTY (G20) MEETINGS
The year was monumental for India as it left its footprint on the world stage by hosting back-to-back G20 meetings over three months. Goa had the honour of hosting the working group meetings, thus allowing the State to showcase its culture and tourism at a global level.
The meetings and deliberations on start-ups, tourism, finance, audit, development and health had strategists and planners of international standing descending on Goa. Of all these deliberations, the one on tourism was naturally the biggest and held a special significance because of the State’s tourism destination tag. The meeting had added positive implications because it chalked out the tourism roadmap for Goa.
VOLLEYBALL WORLD BEACH PRO TOUR 2023
On the sports front, it was a proud moment for Goa to host the first Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) Beach Pro Tour event in India on the golden sands of Varca beach in South Goa.
It is one of the mega events in terms of the many competitions FIVB, the world governing body, conducts worldwide. Goa was handed the opportunity to host it, an honour which previously went to the southern states.
Apart from hosts India, players from Australia, Austria, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Japan, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, USA, England, France, Lithuania, Finland, Slovenia and Italy were seen in action from October 19 to 22 at Varca.
37th NATIONAL GAMES
After dragging its feet for eight years, the Goa government finally pulled off the hosting of the National Games despite all the shortcomings that showed up during the event in October-November.
All the organisational flaws were forgotten after Goa’s medals tally stood at a respectable 92 (27 gold, 27 silver and 38 bronze) finishing 9th on the medals’ chart. However, only a handful of these medals were won by Goan athletes, the rest by imports.
Babu Gaonkar from Sanguem won Goa’s first gold in the modern pentathlon, a discipline unheard of in the State. Some of the other noteworthy medals came from sports disciplines like swimming, sepak takraw, squash and pencak silat.
However, football fans were left disappointed after the Goa team even failed to qualify for the next round. This disappointment was made up by the beach football team which won the silver recognition.
GOA IRONMAN 70.3 INDIA
Around 1200 triathletes pushed their limits to complete a gruelling Ironman race, for the third time in Goa, on a hot and humid morning of October 8, Sunday, at Miramar, in Panjim.
Triathletes from 30 countries, including Argentina, Australia and the US, joined their Indian counterparts in the country’s biggest and truly international endurance race to complete the challenge of sea swimming, cycling and running in 8 hours and 30 minutes.
Nihal Baig from Andhra Pradesh beat the tough hot and humid conditions to win this endurance challenge for the second year in a row. L Biten Singh from Manipur won the second place and the third place went to Bishworjit Saikhom, also from Manipur.
INDIA BIKE WEEK
Global motorcycling enthusiasts thundered into Goa on their mean machines to participate in the 10th edition of the India Bike Week (IBW) on December 8 and 9 at Vagator. The event saw some of the world’s well-known bikers share their trailblazing motorcycling journeys as part of BIG TRIP, a platform which celebrated the spirit of epic adventure powered by two-wheelers.
Bike enthusiasts who came from across the country had the opportunity to interact with some of the big names in the biking world and return home inspired. After two days of unleashing the power of the throttle on Goan roads, the bikers left in pursuit of more epic adventures promising to return to Goa in 2024 to share their travelogues.
In 2023, Goa was the attraction for people to come and explore their true selves at these events and go back empowered. Some of the conferences and gatherings Goa hosted gave people an opportunity to connect and collaborate. Despite some of the bad publicity the State received for its beach life, it proved that it is also the best place for learning and growth.