Canoeing South Africa was recently announced as one of the seven national sporting federations that could return to training and competition as the coronavirus restrictions begin to ease, however President Kim Pople wants members to continue to adhere to protocol.
Minister of Sport and Recreation Mr Nathi Mthetwa announced that canoeing as well as cricket, tennis, swimming and athletics and three other codes were able to resume training which resulted in paddlers flocking their local bodies of water over the weekend.
Despite the green light from government, there are still a number of areas that need to be clarified in terms of the hosting of events; however Pople and her team have got the ball rolling in terms of preparing for various national championships and popular paddling events.
“We are keeping a close eye on numbers of coronavirus infections per district because it is very clear in the regulations that events cannot be hosted in hotspot areas,” Pople said.
“We are pencilling in some events into the calendar for further down the line but virtual events are the way forward for the immediate future with a number of race organisers coming to us with regards to hosting virtual events because these can take place anywhere.”
Because a number of national championship events haven’t been able to happen in 2020 due to the nationwide lockdown, Pople and her team are hard at work trying to work out how they can put together safe events going forward.
“We are in contact with organisers and venues about hosting events because these are going to be dictated by venues and times under the current advanced level three of the lockdown.
“Making sure that we work clearly and safely within the parameters of the current lockdown is going to be important as well as adhering to the inter-provincial travel restrictions,” Pople added.
The government is working hard to reopen as much of the economy as safely and swiftly as possible which means that paddling events will still have to adhere to the various social gathering laws and organisers and paddlers will need to be patient.
“A lot of race organisers are looking at October, November and December as potential months for events and we will now need to work with the various club compliance officers to make sure we keep all our member safe.
“We are not going to put any of our members at risk so we need to make sure we follow all the necessary measures set out by government.
“It’s fantastic to see paddlers back out on the water and we hope that you remain safe and healthy,” Pople added.
Pople praised clubs for their compliance with all the requirement to allow their registered members to get back onto the water, and urged paddlers to be patience and fully co-operative with their clubs and the new lockdown protocols in place.