CAPE TOWN – South Africa’s best will compete at this year’s Lifesaving World Championship in Australia thanks to the combined financial efforts of the Federation, its primary sponsor General Tire and the National Lotteries Commission.
Lifesaving SA traditionally sets aside funds for the World Championships and secures funding from the NLC for HP training camps and athlete support but it hasn’t always been possible to fund every single tour, given that in 2017 there were seven teams representing South Africa at various international events.
It has meant that in some instances athletes have not been available because of financial constraints.
In a World Championship year every effort is being made to make sure that the sport’s elite will be available, with General Tire and the National Lotteries Commission combining to give Team South Africa the best possible chance of finishing in the top three.
“We are appreciative of the sacrifice made all year round by the athletes in serving the Federation and the effort they put in all over South Africa to create safer water environments and as a investor in the sport of Lifesaving we also understand the importance of Team South Africa’s international standing as one of the powerhouses of the sport.
We’ve extended our sponsorship to making a contribution to the squad members’ costs in getting to the World Championship,” said Continental Tyre (South Africa) Marketing Manager, Ian Langlands.
The National Lotteries Commission, in acknowledging the contribution of the Federation to water safety, has combined with General Tire to finance the travelling costs of Team South Africa.
“Lifesaving SA is doing tremendous work in promoting and developing water safety. As the National Lotteries Commission, we would like to encourage and thank Lifesaving SA for their positive contribution in South Africa.
We thank Lifesaving SA for acknowledging the impact the NLC has across South Africa and we are proud to support Lifesaving SA by funding their high performance programmes and international participation, a recognition for the hard work and effort by the Federation, which does not go unnoticed,” said Sanele Dlamini from the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Office.
The World Championship will take place in Australia from 17 November.
New Zealand are the current world champions, while Australia have consistently been the dominant international force in the sport.
South Africa have enjoyed a top-three billing over the years, but the increased financial investment in the sport among countries like Japan and the US has changed the international landscape and for South Africa to remain an international force it requires the best being at the biggest international events.
General Tire’s sponsorship of Lifesaving South Africa has elevated the profile of the sport significantly and in 2017 Lifesaving South Africa was named the best sporting Federation in South Africa.
The General Tire National Lifesaving Championships, from 31 March - 7 April will also for the first time be exclusive across all ages and categories to one city, Port Elizabeth’s Kings Beach and Newton Park Swimming Pool.
The 2017 Nippers Surf National Championship was held at Port Elizabeth’s Kings Beach, with the Masters, Seniors and Juniors at Camps Bay in Cape Town. The Stillwater Pool National Championships were held at Kings Park Pool in Durban.
General Tire, whose head office is based in Port Elizabeth, combined with the Federation’s executive, have ensured a historic National Interclub Championship that will see the city host more than 2 000 competitors. Team South Africa’s World Cup squad of men and women will be selected from those competing at the General Tire National Lifesaving Championships.
The Championships promises to be a spectator extravaganza, with 528 lifesaving events over the eight days.
* Springbok centurion and World Cup winner Percy Montgomery won the inaugural General Tire Celebrity Challenge at Camps Bay in 2017. Montgomery triumphed against television personalities Siv Ngesi, Ewan Strydom and Team South Africa Paralympian Achmat Hassiem.
The Bok legend donated half of his R20 000 winning prize to the South African Children’s home and the other half back to Lifesaving South Africa’s WaterSmart program.
Montgomery will defend his title at the 2018 General Tire Celebrity Challenge against close contenders Siv Ngesi, Achmat Hassiem and other local personalities.
Hassiem is closely associated to Lifesaving South Africa and his story is globally known for saving his brother’s life (while a lifeguard) and in the process losing a leg and nearly his own life to a great white shark attack. Hassiem has since become a celebrated international Paralympian and global inspiration, and is now a brand ambassador for General Tire and Lifesaving South Africa.
Schedule of Events:
Masters Pool Championships, 31st March,
Masters Surf Championships, 1st April
Nippers Surf Championships, 2nd - 4th April
Junior & Senior Pool Championships, 2nd - 4th April
Nippers Pool Championships, 5th - 6th April
Junior & Senior Surf Championships, 5th - 7th April
NEW Surf Boat Shoot Out, 7th April
NEW General Tire Parents flags competition 4th April
NEW General Tire Celebrity Challenge, 6th April
NEW General Tire Tough Guy and Tough Gal 31st Mar - 7th April
Closing ceremony and after party, 7th April, 18:00 - 22:00