Avoiding ‘Dusi Guts’

2020-01-15 06:00
PHOTO: Anthony GroteTaxi Rapid on day one of the Dusi Canoe Marathon has become an important talking point as organisers put in measures to protect paddlers’ health and safety heading into the event next month.

PHOTO: Anthony GroteTaxi Rapid on day one of the Dusi Canoe Marathon has become an important talking point as organisers put in measures to protect paddlers’ health and safety heading into the event next month.

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THE organisers of the Dusi Canoe Marathon are planning to meet with canoeing clubs around the country to address the water quality of the Msunduzi River — a major cause for concern to paddlers ahead of the annual race.

This year’s Dusi K2 edition will start in Maritzburg on Thursday, February 27 and finish in Durban on Saturday, February 29.

The issue of poor water quality in the river has been a hot topic for a while now with paddlers worried about their safety after 66% of participants in last year’s Dusi Canoe Marathon suffered “Dusi Guts”.

Chairperson of the Dusi committee Shane le Breton told The Witness that many paddlers were worried about the water quality and they are not going to compromise the safety of athletes in any way. “We are addressing the water quality on many fronts at the moment, liaising with the role players like Duct [Duzi Umngeni Conservation Trust] and the municipalities where the sewage is leaking in,” said Le Breton. “We are communicating every time we get feedback on issues.

“Duct are taking water samples every week, which is on our website, it shows the water quality in different sections of the river.”

According to Le Brenton, the highest risk of getting infected is when paddlers are leaving Pietermaritzburg; after Campbell’s Farm portage the water quality is not too bad.

He revealed that they have been working on methods that paddlers can use when they get to those high-risk areas to avoid “Dusi Guts”.

“We are going to go on a drive to explain to them methodologies of avoiding using their water bottles in the high-risk areas,” said Le Breton.

“Martin Dreyer has given us some advice on what he did with his wife last year. From the start of day one to the top of Campell’s portage, the first portage that we have, they didn’t have water bottles on them.”

To put the athletes at ease, Le Breton and his team are going to visit the various canoeing clubs. “We going to be starting a little roadshow now where we are going to be visiting some of the canoeing clubs around the country, most notably in Durban and Jo’burg,” he said.

“We are a new committee, so there’s a need to explain where we are, what we are doing, where we are going and addressing the water quality with all the paddlers.

“Everyone is going to know about our focus and where we want to go with this event.”

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