AUSTRALIA’S premier long distance cross-country ski race, the Kangaroo Hoppet, is attracting worldwide attention.
The 42-kilometre event, to be held at Falls Creek in two weeks time, will be streamed online.
That has been made possible by the Victorian government stumping up $30,000 to promote an event that attracts international competitors.
Sports and Recreation Victoria provided $20,000 to promote the event and the member for Benalla, Bill Sykes, has now come good with another $10,000 grant.
Dr Sykes said the money would allow footage of the race to be streamed live online into international markets and throughout Australia through Fairfax news websites.
“This initiative will increase awareness of the Kangaroo Hoppet in key overseas markets, particularly in Europe and North America,” he said.
“It will also provide unprecedented coverage in Victoria and interstate.
“A 26-minute highlight package will be distributed by the European Broadcasting Union, the world’s largest association of national broadcasters.
“And a social media platform will be created to house videos, photos, tweets and blogs.”
The event attracts elite skiers.
Russians filled the first three places last year when the race was shortened to 30-kilometres to cope with wind and heavy conditions.
Three-time World Cup winner Alexander Legkov scored in 1:22.59 with three Australians in the top 10.
Dr Sykes said the race, on August 24, was the only southern hemisphere event in the prestigious 15-nation international Worldloppet cross country series.
It had attracted competitors of all ages and abilities from Australia and other countries to Victoria’s High Country for more than 20 years.
Dr Sykes said he is pleased the government is backing the event as part of efforts to promote regional tourism.
“This will highlight our beautiful area to the world,” he said.
Other events being held on the same day include the 21-kilometre Australian Birkebeiner and the seven-kilometre Joey Hoppet.
Dr Sykes, who competes each year in the Joey Hoppet, said he was looking forward to this year’s event.