SA’s life­savers show off their skills at Dur­ban ex­trav­a­ganza

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - MARK KEOHANE

MARTIN Binedell raced for glory at the re­cent 2017 World Aquat­ics Cham­pi­onships (FINA) in Hun­gary but in Dur­ban on Fri­day he was at the fore­front of SA’s mens’ still wa­ter life­sav­ing chal­lenge in the Royal Life Sav­ing So­ci­ety (RLSS) Com­mon­wealth Fes­ti­val of Life­sav­ing.

Binedell, a Mar­itzburg Col­lege old boy, is the cur­rent South Africa and Africa 200m back­stroke cham­pion and has a long as­so­ci­a­tion with Life­sav­ing SA.

South Africa this week­end play host to Aus­tralia, Canada, Eng­land, Scot­land, Hong Kong and Mau­ri­tius and while the Aus­tralians, as a col­lec­tive, were dom­i­nant on Fri­day’s open­ing day of the two-day Pool life­sav­ing ex­trav­a­ganza, the best of South Africa’s men and women more than held their own.

KZN’s su­per sis­ter trio of Carmel, Lau­ren and Natalie Bill­son also im­pressed.

Carmel, win­ner of the Gen­eral Tire/ Life­sav­ing South Africa Fe­male Ath­lete of the Year, showed her skills set are suited to still wa­ter of a pool as much as they are the surf.

Carmel and Lau­ren fronted the best of Aus­tralia and Eng­land in the Na­tional Teams’ elite com­pe­ti­tion, while Natalie was a stand out in the De­vel­op­ment Cham­pi­onship, which is aimed at the emerg­ing tal­ent yet to com­pete in­ter­na­tion­ally.

This Cham­pi­onship is very dif­fer­ent to those help in the surf and sand and the ath­letes’s life­sav­ing skills face a thor­ough ex­am­i­na­tion in the Aquatic Sim­u­lated Emer­gency Re­sponse Event, the Sim­u­lated Emer­gency Re­sponse Event (dry) re­sus­ci­ta­tion test, the 50m swim and non-con­tact tow, the 12.5 m line throw and the 100m Life­sav­ing Med­ley Swim ( 50m life­sav­ing back­stroke and 50 me­tres Life­sav­ing side stroke).

Natalie Bill­son aside there were also good per­for­mances from De­hanke van Rens­burg and Biance Op­per­man in the De­vel­op­ment Cham­pi­onship, while in the Na­tional Teams’s elite Jo­han Lourens and Binedell were strong in their re­spec­tive dis­ci­plines.

Binedell is also ex­pected to rep­re­sent SA at Life­sav­ing’s Still Wa­ter Or­ange Cup in Hol­land.

Ryan Vis­agie, Prod­uct Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Man­ager, Con­ti­nen­tal Tyre SA (Gen­eral Tire) ap­plauded those com­pet­ing but em­pha­sised the Com­mon­wealth fes­ti­val was as much about the ed­u­ca­tion of drown­ing pre­ven­tion as it was the com­pet­i­tive com­po­nent.

‘The Gen­eral Tire spon­sor­ship and in­vest­ment is about sav­ing lives in re­la­tion to wa­ter dan­gers. It’s about help­ing with the pro­mo­tion of be­ing #wa­ters­mart and it’s also about sup­port­ing the so­cial and ath­letic as­pects of Life­sav­ing SA.

The two- day Cham­pi­onship is the cul­mi­na­tion of a week that also in­cluded the RLSS Com­mon­wealth African Lead­ers Work­shop, with attendees from Mau­ri­tius, Tanza- nia, Mozam­bique, Ghana, Botswana, Uganda, Cameroon, Kenya, Le­sotho, Malawi and hosts South Africa.

The work­shop fo­cused on train­ing in pro­gram man­age­ment and out­come and in­cluded the run­ning of a Drown­ing Pre­ven­tion pro­gram spe­cific to each re­spec­tive coun­try. ● Ev­ery day more than four peo­ple lose their lives to drown­ing in South Africa. Gen­eral Tire/Life­sav­ing SA res­cues more than 3000 peo­ple an­nu­ally. Help save more lives and SMS “Wa­ters­mart” to 49026 and do­nate R15 to Drown­ing Pre­ven­tion Ed­u­ca­tion

SWIFT RE­SPONSE: Glo­ria Ma of the Hong Kong Life­sav­ing team fin­ishes a suc­cess­ful res­cue in the Sim­u­lated Emer­gency Res­cue Com­pe­ti­tion.

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