Warrior women storm hill capital | Sunday Observer
Raid Amazones 2023

Warrior women storm hill capital

2 April, 2023
Canoe race
Canoe race

The 21st edition of Raid Amazones kicked off in Kandy on March 22, with an 11 km hike to Hanthane, Kandy’s tallest mountain. The 250 female athletes, clad in red, navigated narrow passes and trudged up steep tea estate paths while being cheered on by enthusiastic locals.

The last Raid Amazones also took place in Sri Lanka in 2022, making this the first time the destination adventure event happened back-to-back. This year, the Amazones competed their way through a series of challenges which included running, mountain biking, canoeing, archery and a scavenger hunt.

This year was a huge change of scenery for the adventure series which held its 20th edition in Sigiriya. The hill capital provided the Amazons a veritable playground to test their mettle in the form of the Hanthane Range, Lake Victoria, Kandy City, Rideegama and Pahala Kadugannawa.

Army girls

Two hundred and fifty athletes participated in Raid Amazones 2023

The Sri Lanka Army sent a three-women team to take part in the event. The Army girls quickly impressed the French Amazones by clinching first place in Hanthane trail run.

Raid Amazones is definitely putting the country on the map as a place for adventure sports by choosing Sri Lanka to host the event two years in row. “My experience in Sri Lanka with the 20th Raid Amazones and the excellent feedback received by the participants last year convinced me to hold the 21st edition here,” Alexandre Debanne, President and Co-Founder of Raid Amazones said.

In 2022, SriLankan Airlines partnered with the French destination adventure series soon after recommencing flights to Paris. SriLankan Airlines is stepping up its efforts to revitalise the country’s tourism industry which suffered blows from the pandemic and the economic crisis.

The support from the locals has been astounding and added so many colours to the event. “A village bhikkhu brought children from all these different faiths and backgrounds to watch the race. It was just amazing to see Sri Lanka’s diversity on display,” Saminda Perera, SriLankan Airlines’ Head of Marketing told the Sunday Observer. Perera also said how events like this can give a huge boost to local economies by opening more parts of the country to international visitors.

The second leg of the event was the canoe race in Lake Victoria, beginning in Wawegama, a hamlet near Digana and home to the Bambaragala Rahamaha Vihara. The Amazons took to the small boats with ease and set off into the calm waters of the 22-square-kilometre lake to slalom through the 14 km course.

Solidarity event

The all-female destination adventure puts women first to make them aware of their strength. Raid Amazones is about challenging fellow participants and testing oneself. All Amazones stay and cheer each other until the last crosses the finishing line.

It is also a solidarity event that helps local communities and promotes interactions with the culture of the host country.

Raid Amazones’ was Marie Sophie’s first experience in Sri Lanka. She hails from the Britanny region in France. “The race was very challenging. It was difficult on our arms and it’s very hard to go straight,” she told the Sunday Observer. When asked Sophie about her impressions of Sri Lanka, she said the country is very green and beautiful and that she would definitely come again for a visit with her family.

Meanwhile, France’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka Jean-François Pactet said events such as Raid Amazones are good for Sri Lanka’s tourism industry and economy with the positive feedback participants will take back to France.