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Covid delays start of Grand Prix

Durban leg of 10km series was set to be run on Sunday

Namibian star, Helilia Johannes won the 10km SPAR Women’s Challenge Joburg at Marks Park Sporting Club in 2019.
Namibian star, Helilia Johannes won the 10km SPAR Women’s Challenge Joburg at Marks Park Sporting Club in 2019.
Image: Delarey Ferreira

The Durban leg of the Spar Grand Prix Women’s 10km Series that was to have been run on Sunday, has been postponed until later in the year.

The decision to postpone the first race was taken after extensive discussions with key role players including Athletics SA, the event’s medical team and representatives of the City of Durban, because of the rapid rise in the number of Covid-19 cases, particularly in Gauteng.

Spar Group marketing executive Mike Prentice said the decision to postpone the race was not taken lightly. 

“We know the athletes are desperate to get back into competitive running and to earn money,” he said, “but in view of the severity of the third wave of the epidemic in SA, we believe it is in the interests of all parties that the race should not be run at this time.

“The majority of the elite runners are resident in Gauteng where conditions are dire. We also have international athletes flying in to take part in the race and we are concerned for the safety of all runners and officials.”

Prentice stressed that the race had not been cancelled but only postponed until conditions improved.

“We fully intend to host all six Grand Prix races this year, but only when conditions are safe,” said Prentice.

Athletics SA said that it was a sad decision to reach considering the amount of spadework that had been put into preparing for the race.

“It is unfortunate that everything we do and plan these days is subject to the status of the corona pandemic at the given time. Lives come first and that is the bottom line here,” said James Moloi, the president of ASA. 

The Durban Grand Prix was to have been the first of six invitational races to be run in Durban, Tshwane, Pietermaritzburg, Cape Town, Joburg and Gqeberha.

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