Lifesaving National Champs underway

2019-03-27 06:00

NELSON Mandela Bay’s reputation as a sporting city and the water sport capital of Africa is being strengthened by the hosting this week of the National Life-saving Championships.

This is the second successive year that Nelson Mandela Bay is hosting the General Tyres SA Lifesaving National Championships.

This year’s event started on March 24 and runs until Saturday, March 30, with close to 2 000 lifesavers taking to the surf and pool to determine the best individuals and club in SA.

The events will be held at the Blue Flagged King’s Beach and at the Newton Park Swimming Pool.

The launch of the National Life-saving Championship was held at the Life Saving Club in King’s Beach on March 21. Among the guest speakers at the launch were Nelson Mandela Bay Executive Mayor, Mongameli Bobani, Sport Recreation, Arts and Culture representative, Simphiwo Plaatjies, convenor of SA Lifesaving in NMB, Craig van Rooyen and General Tyres managing director, Shaun Uys.

Addressing the stakeholders present, Bobani described the championships as of great significance to a seaside city like Nelson Mandela Bay, as they also inspire young ones to learn more about sport.

“Swimming is not only a sport; it is also a life skill that one can use to save lives.

“On behalf of the city, I would like to thank the organisers for their confidence in us as host city,” he said.

“We have done it before: this year we promise to make it bigger and better. We are also excited about the many spin-offs of these championships for the city’s economy. We are currently under pressure to create more economic streams, of which sport tourism is one.

“I can confidently say that we have made our mark and can grow from here together.”

In 2018, 1 669 competitors from 41 national clubs competed in 528 events over an eight-day period, giving a welcome boost to the local hospitality industry, with some of the out-of-town competitors also bringing their families and friends.

Plaatjies vowed that the safety of the participants, supporters and fans would be prioritised.

He praised the NMBM’s Beaches and Resorts Section for the excellent work done for the previous National Lifesaving Championship in the Bay, with the able support and assistance of the SAPS and Metro Police.

He was seconded by Uys, who also praised the heart-warming commitment shown by the role players and stakeholders at the previous event.

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