Wimpy Lifesaving National Club Championships cancelled in light of coronavirus state of disaster

ihle Trevor Xaba of Durban Surf Lifesaving Club finishes his ski race in the 40-44 years age group Single Ski Race. Trevor is a legend in lifesaving circles and has been on television as an actor in the well known Durban Beach Rescue series. Image shot at General Tire Lifesaving South Africa National Championships 2019 being held in Port Elizabeth. (topfoto.net)
ihle Trevor Xaba of Durban Surf Lifesaving Club finishes his ski race in the 40-44 years age group Single Ski Race. Trevor is a legend in lifesaving circles and has been on television as an actor in the well known Durban Beach Rescue series. Image shot at General Tire Lifesaving South Africa National Championships 2019 being held in Port Elizabeth. (topfoto.net)

President Cyril Ramaphosa's confirmation that the global Covid-19 pandemic has been declared a state of disaster has meant the cancellation of this week's Wimpy Lifesaving National Club Championships in Port Elizabeth.

Ramaphosa declared any social gathering of more than 100 people illegal in the fight to contain the virus. Lifesaving South Africa had already undertaken discussions pre the announcement to act in the best interests of its members and athletes and South Africans in general.

The unavoidable cancellation of the championships is consistent with all other domestic and international competitions, which have in the past week been cancelled or postponed.

“We have been monitoring the development of the coronavirus pandemic and having consulted with the Department of Health, provincial and national authorities, and with the full support of all the events sponsors and partners, the difficult decision was made to cancel the event. The health and safety of the athletes, volunteers, staff, sponsors and the South African public are our priority,” said Lifesaving South Africa president Dhaya Sewduth.

“The safety of the South African public is of paramount importance to us at all times. Wimpy as the headline sponsor of the Lifesaving South African National Championships is in support of the cancellation of this week’s upcoming national championships," said Jacques Cronje, Marketing Executive, Famous Brands.

Craig van Rooyen, Director of Sport for Lifesaving South Africa said: “We acknowledge the hard work and commitment that all the athletes, officials, clubs, sponsors, the Local Organising Committee and event management have undertaken in preparation for the event. However, we emphasise that we are an organisation whose focus is on savings lives and we have a responsibility and commitment to the country to protect and save lives through any means possible.”

Lifesaving South Africa will in due course announce further details on the status of the Wimpy South African Lifesaving National Champs 2020.

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