Midmar Mile organiser Wayne Riddin has been nominated for the World Open Water Swimming Association’s man of the year award

2013-11-02 00:00

MIDMAR Mile organiser Wayne Riddin is up for an international award for his work on the event.

Pietermaritzburg’s Riddin, who coached the South African swimming team at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000, has been nominated for the World Open Water Swimming Association’s man of the year award.

But, due to the company he found himself among, Riddin said that the nomination was not about winning, but about the Midmar Mile — the world’s largest open water swimming event — being recognised internationally.

“I first saw a post on my Facebook congratulating me on the nomination. That’s how I found out. I then saw the names I’m in the company of, and I was overwhelmed,” Riddin told Weekend Witness.

“It means that the Midmar Mile is being recognised. When I see that, it makes me happy. For a little town like Pietermaritzburg to be on a stage like that is great,” he said.

He said he hoped the recognition that the event was receiving around the world would convince the government to get involved.

“If we don’t stand up for Pietermaritzburg, then there are not going to be any events,” he said, adding that preparations for 2014 were under way.

He also praised last year’s winner Chad Ho, saying the 23-year-old was fast becoming a legend.

“He’s won it for four years in a row and he’s going to be back. To win it five times would be unbelievable. He could be to the Midmar Mile what Bruce Fordyce was to the Comrades Marathon.”

Nominated for the woman of the year award was 90-year-old Midmar Mile veteran Lorna Cochran from Johannesburg.

“I’ve called her and congratulated her,” said Riddin.

“The fact that she’s a competitor at that age, that’s so special, and it’s very fitting that she’s been nominated,” he said about the Grand Old Lady of the Midmar Mile.

Riddin said that the Midmar Mile had been recognised before, but this was the first time that individuals associated with event had been nominated.

Riddin and Cochran were just two of three South Africans to receive nominations.

The other — nominated for the same award as Riddin — was 80-year-old Eastern Cape open water swimming legend Mally Richards who has been participating in the Spar River Mile every year since 1947.

• lunga.biyela@witness.co.za

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