COVID-19 ruins South Coast athletes' chance of NSW Interbranch Championships glory

Mollymook's Payton Williams (green cap) dives for a flag during the 2020-21 NSW Interbranch Championships. Photo: SLSNSW
Mollymook's Payton Williams (green cap) dives for a flag during the 2020-21 NSW Interbranch Championships. Photo: SLSNSW

The 2021-22 NSW Interbranch Championships is the first causality of the surf lifesaving season, after the December 4-5 event, set to have numerous South Coast athletes descend on Shelly Beach, was cancelled recently.

With uncertainty regarding the commencement of community sport under easing public health orders, the NSW director of surf sport, branch directors of surf sports, and representatives from Surf Lifesaving NSW met to discuss easing COVID-19 restrictions, a recommencement roadmap for SLSNSW and the subsequent impact of the staging of the Interbranch Championships with reference to its proximity to the state's reopening date of December 1.

SLSNSW has received feedback from all 11 Branch presidents, including South Coast's Steve Jones, and branch directors of surf sports.

"The feedback was very clear, branch presidents, branch directors of surf sports and SLSNSW are committed to the Interbranch Championships going forward," a SLSNSW representative said.

"However, concerns raised by the Branches with respect to inadequate athlete preparation time, a Branch focus on returning to community sport and uncertainty regarding regional travel restrictions, have resulted in the SLSNSW board determining a viable Interbranch Championships is not possible for season 2021-22.

"Unfortunately, with the scheduling of other events including Aussies, there are no alternate dates which can be considered this season."

SLSNSW remains committed to the event and has scheduled next year's Interbranch Championships for December 3-4 at the Central Coast.

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This story COVID-19 ruins South Coast athletes' chance of NSW Interbranch Championships glory first appeared on Bega District News.