Sell out for PE’s Bellbuoy Challenge event

2019-03-20 06:02
Algoa Bay’s Bell Buoy will be the challenge for some of the world’s best open water swimmers. photos:ORACLE MEDIA

Algoa Bay’s Bell Buoy will be the challenge for some of the world’s best open water swimmers. photos:ORACLE MEDIA

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PORT Elizabeth will confirm its status as the water sports capital of South Africa when the Open Water World Tour (OWWT) comes to town on Saturday, April 13.

The Jendamark Bellbuoy Challenge will be the first stop on the OWWT, which makes its way to the southern hemisphere for the first time in its history.

The OWWT, which generally attracts swimmers from various European countries, will brave the shores of Nelson Mandela Bay for what is shaping up to be one of the most competitive swims of the year.

Two of the international swimmers who have been confirmed for the event are the 2018 men’s and ladies’ OWWT winners, Xabier Gordoa Aspiazu and Andrea Fos Corbera. Both will be competing for the first time in South Africa and will have high expectations of getting the better of local favourites such as Paige Black, Amica de Jager and last year’s men’s champion, SA swimming legend, Gary Albertyn from Pretoria.

The main reason for the attraction of such a stellar field is the prodigious prize pool available at the event, which is billed as the Indian Ocean’s premier swim.

Competitors will be fighting it out for their share of R76 000 with the men’s and ladies’ winners each taking home R10 000 in cash.

Prizes are allocated as far down as 10th place in each category. In addition to the cash prizes for overall winners, there are also a few special prizes awarded.

Participants competing and finishing their fifth Bellbuoy Challenge, as well as age group winners, will receive a unique locally crafted South African wire replica of the bellbuoy around which swimmers turn, some 2.5km off the coast.

This year’s event will be the 10th edition of the Bellbuoy Challenge and there are a select few competitors who have managed to qualify for and complete all 10.

This is a tremendous feat, considering the challenges which swimmers face when taking on the swim. Swimmers wanting to swim in the Jendamark Bellbuoy Challenge must prove their competency in an ocean swim over a similar distance.

This is due to the ocean’s offering unique challenges like swells and currents which inexperienced ocean swimmers may find overwhelming.

A race briefing will be held at News Cafe on Friday, April 12, at 18:00 for swimmers to become familiar with all the procedures for the race as well as to give all competitors a chance to meet and interact with one another while picking up their race packs.

With a sell-out entry and some of the best open water swimmers in the world present, the 2019 Jendamark Bellbuoy Challenge is set to make waves in Nelson Mandela Bay and indeed around the world.

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