Following the Queensland Government COVID-19 restrictions in place from Saturday 8 August, Surf Life Saving Australia has taken the decision to cancel the 2020 National Pool Rescue Championships, all non-elite categories of the Coolangatta Gold, including Beach Warrior.
The current Queensland State Government COVID-19 border restrictions prevent anyone from New South Wales, The Australian Capital Territory or Victoria from entering the northern state with restrictions in place for the foreseeable future.
The National Pool Rescue Championships are an opportunity for surf lifesavers across the country to demonstrate their speed and skill in a variety of rescue simulations and they were due to be held at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre in Southport from October 2-4.
Whilst all non-elite categories of the iconic Coolangatta Gold have been officially cancelled, SLSA is presently continuing to work with relevant authorities in an effort to enable the elite athlete category to take place as scheduled on Sunday, October 25, over the gruelling 41.8km endurance surf race from Coolangatta to Broadbeach and back.
SLSA President Graham Ford AM said it is with a heavy heart that SLSA have had to make the tough decision to cancel the Pool Rescue Championships and most parts of the Coolangatta Gold weekend including Beach Warrior for 2020.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created uncertainty and changed the way of life for everyone making it very difficult to accurately plan for events and activities in the future,” said Ford.
“Our team have been working tirelessly to come up with a variety of scenarios, COVID Safe plans and ways in which we can still run our events, but we have reached the point today where with great disappointment, we need to cancel the 2020 National Pool Rescue Championships and aspects of the Coolangatta Gold.
“We know that people have been preparing and training for these events and we have been wanting to give everyone the opportunity to participate, particularly given that last season was cut short, but we have reached a point where all things considered, we needed to make the call on the Pool Championships and aspects of the Coolangatta Gold.
“At this point in time we will continue to push ahead and work with relevant authorities and stakeholders to run the elite category of the Coolangatta Gold, but recognise that there may come a point in time, when a final decision on this category will come, but that time isn’t now.
“Nobody can accurately predict the future with respect to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 and in speaking with a variety of stakeholders including athletes, coaches and officials, we believe that we still have some more time before that call needs to be made.
“Our team is planning and actively managing this ever-changing situation on a daily basis and if we reach the point where we feel all avenues have been explored, or the circumstances dictate that it is not possible, we will make that decision and communicate accordingly.”
SLSA is currently working on developing a virtual Coolangatta Gold for those no longer able to participate, with further details to be announced in the near future. Participants can register their interest here.
What began as a 1984 movie “the Coolangatta Gold”, is now one of the most challenging and gruelling endurance surf races in the world that see’s competitors tough it out through 41.8km of iron racing up and down the length of the Gold Coast, from Coolangatta to Broadbeach and back.
Over the years the Coolangatta Gold has evolved into a weekend of surf racing, encompassing the 41.8km long course, the 21km short course and the 2km youth challenge, and see’s athletes compete as individuals or teams across a range of age groups.
The 2020 Coolangatta Gold was due to take place across the 24-25 of October, with the only the elite category of the long course taking place on Sunday 25 October.
National Pool Rescue Championships:
The National Pool Rescue Championships are an opportunity for surf lifesavers across the country to demonstrate their speed and skill in a variety of rescue simulations, and also include the Interstate Pool Rescue Championships where state representatives battle it out for their teams for the top title.
The three-day competition attracts up to 700 competitors from clubs around Australia each year across youth, open and master categories.