Organisers just waiting for clearance from municipality on Covid-19 regulations

Ocean Racing Series set for return this weekend

Subject to final confirmation, the aQuelle Ocean Racing Series is set to bring competitive swimming back to Nelson Mandela Bay at Hobie Beach on Sunday
Subject to final confirmation, the aQuelle Ocean Racing Series is set to bring competitive swimming back to Nelson Mandela Bay at Hobie Beach on Sunday
Image: Supplied

Port Elizabeth’s most popular open-water swimming event is set for a welcome return with the aQuelle Ocean Racing series expected to hit Hobie Beach on Sunday (9am). 

Organiser Michael Zoetmulder said all the necessary Covid-19 processes had been followed and final confirmation from the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality was anticipated.

If it goes ahead, the series, albeit fan-less, will see a return to competitive sporting action in the Bay for the first time since the national lockdown was imposed on the country in late March.

“It’s been seven months for us away from hosting events and working so we are very excited to get back at it again and we are raring to go,” Zoetmulder said.

“We are just waiting for the final written confirmation from the metro.

“It will be the first event being held in the city, so they need to make sure everything is done by the book.” 

He said they had had to change the way events were hosted with some now taking a virtual format.

Consisting of seven disciplines including a 400m and one-, two- and three-kilometre ocean swims, the event will also have a 5km beach run and walk and a 1km children’s run/walk. 

While the Ocean Racing Series will remain as is, Zoetmulder’s other events, like the AlgoaFM Virtual Big Walk for Cancer (October 4) and the PEople’s Triathlon (November 15), will take on a virtual aspect.

“People will register for the virtual event and take part in their own backyard, suburb or wherever they like.

“In the case of the Big Walk for Cancer, we now have entries from across the country as well as a couple of overseas entries.

“We will courier them their goodie bags via the post so they will have their pink shirts, and on that morning, between designated times, they will go out for their walk.

“People will be able to interact with each other via their cellphones by posting pictures and commenting on the social media feeds dedicated to these events,” he said.

For the PEople’s triathlon, virtual participants would need to log their times and distances for each of the disciplines and submit these to event timing officials.

“Triathletes are a different breed. They have their gadgets which measure their training to a fine art.

“So they need to send in proof that they have done each of the disciplines and at the end of the race we will have virtual and physical results, as well as a combined results list, which could be quite exciting,” Zoetmulder said.

The new regulations will see no fans permitted at venues and the appointment of an event compliance officer to ensure all Covid-19 protocols are strictly followed.

Events will be restricted to 50% of venue capacity with 1.5m social distancing being maintained at all times.

Participants will be screened and have their temperatures taken before entering designated event areas, as well as practising hand sanitisation on entry.

Masks must be worn at all times in the event area, except for when athletes are in competition

- HeraldLIVE



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