KOTA KINABALU: The Fun Ride Mountain Bike Challenge was flagged off on Sunday (Dec 5) with 160 cyclists from across Sabah turning up at scenic Kampung Kiau Taburi on the western foothills of Mount Kinabalu.
Themed "The Lost World of Kiau Taburi", the challenge was Sabah's first major sporting event after a nearly two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
It was organised by the village communities and supported by the Sabah Tourism, Culture, and Environment Ministry as well as Sabah Tourism Board (STB).
Praising the organising team, STB deputy general manager Julinus Jimit said the challenge was a good event to mark the reopening of inter-district borders.
"Such an event will add value and (exposure) to further promote rural tourism with community participation.
"This is one of the state government and ministry’s goals for developing rural tourism," he said at the opening ceremony of the event.
He gave an assurance that the ministry and STB would continue to support the event if it was held again the following year, adding that he hoped to see more participants from other states and countries in future editions.
"With international borders set to reopen next year, we must be prepared to welcome participation from other countries in our event.
"At the same time, I encourage local communities to use sporting events and other tourism activities to promote their handicraft, traditional food and culture, among other things, in order to make rural tourism more vibrant," said Julinus, who represented STB chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai.
Kampung Kiau Taburi Village Development and Security Committee chief Timothy Sagun said the challenge was held to further promote the village as an eco-tourism destination and to revitalise community-based tourism activities.