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Gisborne IRBs set to miss out on nationals

Waikanae IRB crews could miss out on the chance of national titles because remaining surf lifesaving sport events this season have been cancelled or postponed.

Kaiaponi Farms Waikanae had tremendous success in the North Island championships last month.

“It is disappointing that our teams will not be able to compete; they've trained hard,” club spokeswoman Michelle Mitchell said.

“We have to comply with the Government requirements to keep everybody safe.”

The decision not to proceed with national or regional lifesaving sport this season followed the unprecedented impact of Covid-19 on events and mass gatherings, Surf Life Saving New Zealand chief executive Paul Dalton said.

Events affected included the South Island, Northern Region and New Zealand IRB championships, the Northern Region and Eastern Region rookie challenges, the Christchurch Rookie Competition, the Southern Patrol Championships and the Bay of Plenty Long Haul.

Also included were any other lifeguarding competition and sport events scheduled for the 2019/20 season.

“We will work with clubs, committees, staff and suppliers to determine potential opportunities to run these events at a later date, and assess events scheduled for the 2020/21 season,” Dalton said.

The organisation's highest priorities were the health, safety and well-being of its membership and staff, he said.

While some of these events might not exceed the current Ministry of Health guidelines of 500 people, they were unticketed events with multiple points of entry, so the numbers attending could not be controlled.

“This also makes it difficult to contact/trace all attendees should a participant or attendee deliver a positive result following the events,” Dalton said.

“While medical advice is that the risk of community transmission remains low, the risk significantly increases where activities involve close personal contact such as in sport, where shared accommodation is required, and where events involve airports, air travel and travel from all over New Zealand.”

CALLED OFF: The decision not to proceed with the remaining events of the Surf Life Saving New Zealand 2019/20 competition programme has cost several IRB crews from the Waikanae Club the chance to press for national titles this season. The club's crews last month brought home a stack of medals from the North Island championships, where (from left) patient Silke McNaught, crewman Oliver Shivnan and driver Connor Mitchell won three of the four gold medals up for grabs in their division. Picture by Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media Services