Midmar Mile organiser disappointed by lack of government support

2014-02-06 00:00

MIDMAR Mile organiser Wayne Riddin didn’t mince his words yesterday, saying he was disappointed by the government’s involvement leading up to the event this weekend.

Riddin bemoaned the fact that other events held in KwaZulu-Natal, such as the Comrades Marathon and the upcoming Dusi Canoe Marathon, received monetary support from the government, and they did not.

“The MEC of Sport [Ntombikayise Sibhidla-Saphetha] and a number of officials from the department will be at the event, and we’ve given them free entry. Yet, we don’t get support from them like the Dusi and the Comrades,” Riddin told The Witness yesterday.

Over the weekend, Riddin will also be hosting a government official from Gauteng who is interested in getting him involved in their bid to create an event that is bigger than the Midmar Mile, regarded as the world’s largest open-water swimming event.

The money that they did make from hosting the aQuallé Midmar Mile, they ploughed back into swimming, specifically the JC Jolliffe Pool, which hosts a number of national championships.

“What do we have to do to get the funds that are provided for other events,” said Riddin.

He pointed out that KZN Tourism had been helpful in the lead-up to the event.

“KZN Tourism have really stretched their pockets to help us, and we’re very grateful for that. But, we could do with some help from the government. We hope that at some point in time someone will stand up and decide to help us.”

S pokesperson for sports MEC Sibhidla-Saphetha, Mluleki Mtungwa told The Witness that they were holding talks with the Midmar Mile organisers to see how they could work together.

“However, we are currently funding some development swimmers through KZN Aquatics.

“We work with the Dusi because they do a lot of development work with disadvantaged communities. But, we are holding talks with the organisers of the Midmar Mile to see if we can set up a partnership,” he said.

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