Eastern Cape, GQEBERHA: Swimmers from around the country will head down to Africa’s water sports capital for the continent’s toughest Indian Ocean swim this weekend
Pollok Beach will play host to the Jendamark Bellbuoy Challenge when South Africa’s best swimmers descend to take part in the annual race. Swimmers will start in front of Summerstrand Lifesaving club and swim out toward the Bellbuoy some 2.5km out to sea. Once there they will round the beacon and head straight back to the start/finish.
The 2021 event will once again be the first event on the Open Water World Tour and as such attracts a stellar field. One of the swimmers entered into the event is current 5 and 10 km national champion Michelle Weber. Weber will be taking on the challenge for the first time and will be looking to claim 1st place in the event not for the faint of heart. However, the Olympian will have her work cut out for her when she comes up against 3-time local defending champion Amica de Jager in a tantalizing battle. “I’m beyond excited to be competing in the event this year. I’ve been wanting to take part in the Bellbuoy Challenge for years” says Weber. “it’s a beautiful swim and something you must take part in”. De Jager and Weber are familiar with each other and have raced numerous times in the Nationals Champions. Time will tell whether the home ground advantage will play into de Jager’s favour for this one.
The men’s side throws out equally tasty prospects. Last year’s champion Gary Albertyn is back to defend his title and he will be up against some serious competition from the likes of Henre Louw and Phillip Seidler. Both Seidler and Louw have competed in multiple National championships with Seidler getting the better of Louw in the 2020 South African Championships with a 3rdplace finish. However, neither come close to the experience of Albertyn who will need to use it all to his advantage to get the better of the pair of them. The three-way battle looks set to be an epic showdown.
Along with the R78 000 prize purse for the top 10 men and women, swimmers will also receive one of a kind Bellbuoy trophies and world class finishers medals. Saturdays race will start at 08h30 with check in for all competitors at 07h00. Unfortunately, no spectators will be allowed at the event and organisers have warned that any athletes with supporters run the risk of being disqualified.
Full start lists and information on the Jendamark Bellbuoy Challenge can be found online at https://www.zsports.co.za/bellbuoy.