The President of the Oceania Zone World Cup Rugby, Ken Sowden, recently visited South Africa to look at possible accommodation and competition venues. Iris Cunningham, General Manager South African Sports Association for Physically Disabled (SASAPD), accompanied him, and gave us this commentary.
”We had five pretty hectic days but his site visit went off really well and the great news is that Ken has confirmed the tournament will take place in South Africa from 7-13 November this year.
She said the highlight of the tournament will be the fact that the “Wheelblacks” (Athens Paralympic Champions) will be here to show off their prowess.
”The preferred venue, agreed to by the organising committee as well as Ken, is Carnival City (Ekurhuleni). This will mean the acquisition of a portable wooden floor which we are already working on, but should all else fail Ken has also approved another option, the Alberton Civic Centre.
“All we need now is the final letter of approval from IWAS and this is hopefully already in process. We have also received 100% support from the Mayor of Ekurhuleni in the hosting of the event, and in the acquisition of the floor.”
She said the visit by Ken was really great and it created an extra opportunity of not only looking at this tournament but also to looking at the development of wheelchair rugby generally in SA.
“We spent time with many of the players in Gauteng as well as with the Convenor elect (Milton Marnies) and wheelchair rugby can only go from strength to strength from here on.”
It has been agreed that the tournament will include:
Coaching clinics to enhance coaches in South Africa
”The intention here is that the visiting teams will also bring in coaches, referees and classifiers, but above all this is a wonderful opportunity for each of our playing regions to ensure they participate in these clinics - and you will have more than enough time to prepare for this.”
Iris said a special “thank you” to Bennie, Vic and Graham who she said had been instrumental in getting this bid off the ground and for the support and assistance received in hosting Ken.
“Also – our sincere thanks to Ken for his support and for giving us this wonderful opportunity to take the sport to the next level. We look forward to welcoming him and his officials from the Oceania Zone here in November.”