With fears growing daily, the coronavirus seems to be making at least some of us a little dilly, and that sense of chaos echoed through local sports authorities this week.
Following an emergency board meeting on Monday night, the Comrades Marathon Association announced that it felt it was premature
to postpone or cancel this year’s edition of the annual event in KwaZulu-Natal.
It was, however, monitoring the situation on a daily basis and would reassess on 17 April, in line with government measures put in
place in an attempt to contain the virus.
In response, sports minister Nathi Mthethwa reacted with the reflexes of a ninja.
Seemingly furious with a national event which was opting not to abide by guidelines that were delivered from the very top, he hit
back at the CMA with force.
Mthethwa called the CMA board “irresponsible”, insisting the race would not go ahead as planned.
And this type of forceful reaction would be fine, considering the implications of a rapid coronavirus spread, except for one thing – the Comrades Marathon is in June.
While the Two Oceans ultra- marathon in Cape Town has been scratched, along with a long list of sports events across the country over the next month, the Comrades won’t be run (if at all) until 14 June.
That’s two months after the situation is supposed to be reassessed by decision makers.
Making matters worse, Mthethwa later claimed that Athletics South Africa had assured him this year’s race would not go ahead.
There seems to be two potentially obvious reasons for this bizarre misunderstanding.
Either the powers that be confused the Comrades and the Two Oceans, and lost their marbles thinking the latter race was going
ahead, or they didn’t read the entire statement from the CMA because the organisers made it clear that suspending the event remained a possibility.
If the nation is on hold until next month, why cancel an event in June?
More importantly, why react with fury if organisers want to remain optimistic?
Look, we all get it.
This ain’t no joke, and if the coronavirus is still a problem in June, there won’t be a Comrades Marathon.
The organisers also face multiple challenges if the race is to go ahead, not least of all finding a solution for all the cancelled qualifying races its entrants had planned to run, but if they feel they can do it if they’re given the all clear from government, then all the best to them.
And all it would have taken for this whole mess to be resolved was some communication between the various channels.
There’s no need to create battles over nothing.
We’re fighting enough over toilet paper.
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