“Unfortunately this request is denied”.
That is the message I received from SAMSA this morning in reply to our application for a relaxation in the level 4 restrictions, allowing us to return to the water in a limited capacity.
They continue by saying;
“While Level 4 is implemented, we cannot allow this. Gyms are closed and although exercise is limited, the request from government is to limit this as much as possible – only walking, jogging and cycling is permitted within the surrounding area of your home”.
We have also submitted an application to the Department of Sport. However, it is highly unlikely that this will be looked upon with any more sympathy. In either event, we would need both.
This sentiment has been confirmed by Kim who is serving on the SASCOC “Covid 19 War Room”.
I have attached a copy of the New Zealand alert levels HERE with respect to sport and recreation to give perspective on what other countries are doing.
Their level 4 reflects the following;
“All water-based activities are prohibited because these activities expose participants to danger or may require search and rescue services”.
In conversation with SAMSA, they have expressed a similar sentiment regarding water-based activity. Their issue appears to be around the danger element more than the risk of passing on the virus during the exercise.
We are trying to counter this argument with the fact that all of our members have a recorded proficiency level and the risk is low. We have proposed that we, as a federation, self-regulate, and that all of our members be given a letter of authority.
So, in the short term, it appears that those lucky enough to have ergo’s, or those who have swimming pool contraptions, will be the only ones who will be able to do any form of paddling.
Rest assured that we are doing everything that we can to get ourselves back on the water.
We have also been fighting a battle on another front.
Some of you may have read recent articles in the press regarding Canoeing South Africa’s call for a special general meeting of SASCOC in order to table a proposal to demand that the current SASCOC board step down.
We have done this with a full mandate from the CSA board.
The SASCOC board gets re-elected every 4 years, in the year of the Olympic games. The elections were meant to take place on the 28th of last month. The covid 19 restrictions prevented this.
CSA, in conjunction with a number of other federations feels that the current board is compromised and divided in the power struggle for positions on the new board. We are proposing that they step down and that SASCOC be administered by a caretaker committee whose major aim will be to expedite the election process.
Constitutionally, we need the support of a certain percentage of the federations to force the meeting, and then a majority to have the motion accepted. We will keep you up to date with proceedings.
These less cheerful issues have been overshadowed by the massively successful “Canoein4Covid” fundraising initiative that was driven by Kim and Janet.
The idea was conceptualised as a result of calls received from a number of the kids from our development programs in the valley who reached out to us, asking for food.
As usual, our paddling family opened their hearts, and their wallets, and joined in the challenge.
We are still waiting for deposits to reflect, but it looks as though we have raised over R100 000.
Thank you all for your fantastic support.
Our portly, ginger, obnoxious, confused international (German, South African, Portuguese) ex paddling legend, climbed on board and talked an impressive sum out of the pockets of a number of kind hearted internationals during a free online coaching lesson. All this, while being holed up and fighting a serious battle of his own. Fat Boy, you are a special individual.
The fund will be administered by ourselves, so you can rest assured that every cent will make its way to the intended destination.
We are going to keep the initiative alive, as it is unlikely that the level of desperation is going to disappear within the foreseeable future.
You are welcome to keep donations coming in using the following:
We have a month to go before we receive confirmation of whether the ICF Ocean Racing World Championships will go ahead.
The only meaningful international event that is still on the table for this year.
I usually like to be upbeat and positive. I hope it is not misplaced on this one.
Until next week, stay safe
With not much else to do, I will resort to a joke.
A preacher was making his rounds on his bicycle, when he came upon a little boy trying to sell a lawn mower.
‘How much do you want for the mower?’ asked the preacher.
‘I just want enough money to buy a bicycle,’ said the little boy.
After a moment of consideration, the preacher asked, Will you take my bike in trade for it?’
The little boy asked if he could try it out first, and, after riding the bike around a little while, said, ‘Mister, you’ve got yourself a deal.’
The preacher took the mower and began to crank it. He pulled on the rope a number of times, but could not get it started. The preacher called the little boy over and said, ‘I can’t get this mower to start.’
The little boy said, ‘That’s because you have to swear at it to get it started.’
The preacher said, I can’t swear. It’s been so long since I became a Christian that I don’t even remember how to swear.’
The little boy looked at him nonchalantly and said, ‘You just keep pulling on that rope. It’ll come back to you.