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ERC cancellation a big blow

NOT THIS YEAR: A big blow came to the district’s surf life saving athletes with news late yesterday that the Eastern Regional Championships at the Mount this weekend, second only in size to the New Zealand championships, have been cancelled due to the red traffic light requirements. File pictures
Surf Lifesaving Champion of the Bays - U16 Board

The Eastern Regional Surf Life Saving Championships (ERC) at the Mount this weekend have fallen victim to the requirements of the Covid-19 red traffic light restrictions.

The championships have been cancelled, which will be a blow for the dozens of Gisborne surf athletes who were set to perform well there.

“Surf Life Saving New Zealand has moved quickly to review its ability to safely deliver the ERC’s scheduled to start this Friday evening,” said National Sport Manager Lewis McClintock.

“After consultation with the SLSNZ Board, staff, ERC event management and volunteers, and consideration of a wide range of factors, SLSNZ have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2022 Eastern Region Senior Championships.”

Mr McClintock said in a statement the event management team presented a number of detailed alternative plans to mitigate risk and deliver the event safely within the red restrictions.

“However the SLSNZ Board and Executive determined that holding an event for over 1000 competitors, officials, water safety and event volunteers from across the country, was neither responsible nor in line with the current Government response of focusing on ‘stamping out’ Covid and reducing the spread of Omicron.

“In the worst-case scenario that participants either caught Covid or became close contacts, the potential health implications and/or subsequent self-isolation requirements would potentially put club’s lifesaving capacity at risk,” he said.

“As an organisation primarily focussed on the safety and wellbeing of our members and the public, there is a need to consider the wider public good as well as our own goals.”

Mr McClintock said SLSNZ acknowledges that clubs and members will have already committed significant time, training and financial resources into attending the event and will be disappointed with another cancellation in what has been a very challenging 12 months.

The New Zealand Championships were cancelled in March last year due to Covid.

“SLSNZ will continue to evaluate and assess all scheduled regional and national competitions as more information becomes available and will communicate any changes as soon as possible,” he said.

“The Invitational event, with fewer than 100 competitors and planned to be delivered by Surf Life Saving Northern Region SLSNR on Monday, January 31 is still under consideration by the Tauranga City Council.”

To the club members affected by the decision to cancel the ERC carnival he said, “We appreciate your understanding as we continue to navigate the challenges of delivering sport to our membership at this time”.

Kaiaponi Farms Waikanae chairman Grant Bramwell said it’s obviously very disappointing for the club’s athletes who have trained so hard for it.

“I really feel for them.

“Last year was really tough on them getting so many events cancelled and we were hoping this would be a different year, with more opportunities for them.

“Now we just hope the Nationals can go ahead in Christchurch in March.”

Dawson Building Midway chairman Dave Corrin echoed his comments.

“It’s very disappointing.

“A lot of kids have been training for a very long time for these championships.

“My view is at some stage we are going to have to learn to live with Covid, and why not now.”

Riversun Wainui chairman Andrew Putnam said logically and politically cancelling the ERCs was a smart move, given the likely impact of Omicron.

“But it’s such a shame that all the athletes have trained so hard.

“The modelling does suggest sadly that the Nationals in March might be under threat too.”