Ian Player wishes Dusi paddlers good luck, but can’t attend event due to ill health

2014-02-12 00:00

DUSI Canoe Marathon legend Dr Ian Player has sent his best wishes to all the participants in this year’s marathon, which gets under way at Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg tomorrow, and vowed that he will be following the race as closely as ever from his house in the Karkloof.

Having pioneered the first official Dusi that started in Pietermaritzburg at the end of 1951 and ended six days later at the beginning of 1952, Player is a figure who is synonymous with the Dusi and regularly attended the start and finish of the race.

Ill health has prevented Player from attending the event this year, but the alert 86-year-old says he will be following all the development over the three days of the race.

The decorated environmentalist wished all the paddlers well ahead of the 118 km journey from Pietermaritzburg to Durban. He was quick to highlight the other important elements that the race covers.

“I would like to wish every paddler the best of luck for the Dusi,” Player said.

“The Dusi is without question one of the most important sporting events in the country, but it goes beyond sport too because those who participate have the opportunity of appreciating how important the environment is to us. Rivers are the lifeblood of South Africa and we need to protect them in every single way possible.”

Player was one of the founders of the Natal Parks Board, which highlights his love of nature and his hope that the paddlers would be conscious in their efforts to keep our rivers clean.

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