Sportsfest in doubt after event canned

By TONY WHITE twhite@dailyexaminer.com.au

THE future of the annual Sportsfest at Whiting Beach, Yamba, is in doubt after this year's event was cancelled.

Due to bureaucratic and time constraints organiser Ray Hunt was unable to get the necessary approvals in place to stage the fourth running of the popular event that attracts surf life saving, swimming and triathlon stars as well as a horde of 'weekend warriors.'

"Due to the amalgamation of the various councils a review of the Section 355 committee's had to take place and we didn't receive notification our committee was okay until October," Hunt said yesterday.

"From there we have to get permission from the various government authorities, organise insuarnce and sponsors.

"The time factor to organise everything was unfortunately just too short."

Sportsfest was scheduled to be conducted on Monday.

Since its inception Sportsfest has attracted backing from the Australian Institute of Sport and attracted several leading athletes from the various disciplines pitting their skills against each other in various swim and running races.

Former Australian Junior Ironman Champion, Yamba's Hugh Dougherty, won last year's event narrowly from 2003 Australian Junior Triathlete of the Year, Forster-based Brett Lee.

Hunt said the cancellation of this year's event had cast a spell over Sportsfest's future.

"Because of the lost credibility with sponsors and the like, I'll have to test the waters before making any future plans," he said.

"A hell of a lot of work goes into it and I'm not sure if I want to do it again.

"It's just a crying shame this has happened."



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