The organisers of the MyLife Dusi canoe marathon will not sanction participants in this year’s race who failed to adhere to the race requirement to wear the official race bibs.
Once it became clear that there was a significant portion of the field that did not wear the bibs handed to them before the race on back and front of their torsos, the host club, the KwaZulu-Natal Canoe Club, took a decision in principal to act against those athletes that failed to wear their bibs during the race, and wrote to the athletes individually.
“Our rules are wholly aligned with the Canoeing South Africa rules regarding branding and sponsorship and designed to ensure that sponsors of a race have their commercial rights protected, while ensuring that the athlete has ample opportunity to give their personal sponsors mileage,” said KNCC chair Doug Gow.
“In many instances athletes opted not to wear their race bibs but instead wore their personal sponsors branding,” he pointed out.
With the race rules allowing for a range of sanctions for paddlers contravening the branding and sponsorship rules, the race committee advised athletes that had been identified through photos taken during the race to have contravened the race rules that they intended imposing penalties.
However the committee felt that sanctioning the paddlers and the challenges they faced in imposing these sanctions consistently across the entire field warranted a retraction of their intent to impose penalties on the athletes.
“Our interest, first and foremost, is the best interest of the sport, and specifically those of the MyLife Dusi,” said Gow.
“We were deeply concerned by the widespread refusal to wear the race bibs, but we have agreed that, while we are serious about protecting our race sponsor’s rights, we want to resolve this issue as constructively as possible.
“In that spirit we are retracting our intentions to sanction paddlers and instead we are making an earnest appeal to every single Dusi paddler to be responsible about following the race branding rules and requirements going forward,” said Gow.