With the country moving to adjusted alert level three, paddlers have been given the go-ahead by Canoeing South Africa to return to training and events with immediate effect, but with a strong appeal to remain fully compliant with the federation’s Covid-19 protocols.
Having suspended all paddling events a month ago when the country was moved to lockdown alert level four, it’s a relief for race organisers throughout the country that they can continue with what is a busy calendar going into the second half of the year.
Canoeing has been able to set a precedent for many other sports by successfully staging a number of other events throughout the pandemic with the stringent Covid-19 protocols in place. President of Canoeing South Africa Kim Pople is happy events are back on but wants event organisers and paddlers to remain responsible.
“We’ve shown throughout that canoeing events can be staged successfully and responsibly and in full compliance,” Pople said.
“It’s vital that we continue to adhere to all regulations and protocols that have been set out by government when we host events because we’ve been very privileged to be able to host and compete in races when many other sports have suffered.
“There is a lot of racing between now and the end of the year and we want our paddlers to enjoy as many races as possible,” she added.
The calendar resumes with the Berg River Canoe Marathon on the adjusted dates of 5 to 8 August. It is one of the country’s premier canoe race and with this year’s edition being the 60th entries for the race have been good.
For paddling clubs, the change in restrictions means that regular training and local time trials and dices can continue with immediate effect.
“It’s fantastic that we can now give our paddlers the green light to get back to competition and we wish them all the best.
“For event organisers and unions, we hope that they can get all their plans and the necessary approvals in place as soon as possible while making sure that everyone remains safe,” Pople added.