Open water swimming in Nelson Mandela Bay suffered a huge setback this week with the announcement that the 2017 South African Open Water Swimming Nationals awarded to Nelson Mandela Bay Aquatics for North End Lake on the 4th and 5th March has been relocated to Marina Martinique in Jeffreys Bay.
The Championships, which is set to attract around 300 top swimmers from around the country, was earmarked to be the first official swimming event in the rehabilitated lake but at the weekend the local organisers had to recommend the venue change to swimming South Africa as water quality levels hadn’t yet met with international swimming standards.
“The decision, whilst the correct one, is a huge disappointment and a massive setback for our plans to secure a 3-year bid for the hosting of the World Marathon swimming championships in Port Elizabeth” said Championships organiser Mike Zoetmulder of Zsports Events NPC.
“Whilst the ongoing rehabilitation of the lake is fast becoming an international success story, delays in dosage over the Christmas period appear to have had a negative impact on current water quality levels and the LOC felt that time just wasn’t on our side to ensure international levels could be met in time for the Championships.”
This would have been the first time the national open water championships would have taken place in the city and could have had a massive economic benefit and marketing boost for the stadium precinct. Fortunately Marina Martinique, one of the best open water venues in the country, was available and all preparations are back on track for a successful championships which have been held before at this venue.
“I have no doubt that North End Lake will become one of the best and most versatile water sport venues in the country as the lake and stadium precinct offers ideal training and competition opportunities for most water sport codes and just hope that the Mandela Bay Development Agency continue to get the support to continue with the rehabilitation program.”
The Championships is set to attract the country’s best open water swimmers, including multi Olympian Chad Ho, and will be taking place on the 4th and 5th March at the Marina with the 10km and 3km events being contested on the Saturday and the 5km on the Sunday morning.
Further information on the Championships is available on www.zsports.co.za/saows-champs.
Image courtesy of www.bayjournal.com