Kira heads Down Under for lifesaving world championships

Left: From left, Patience Shikwambana, acting CEO of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), Dylan Tommy, Lifesaving South Africa president, and Kira Bester.

Kira Bester, a Grade 11 pupil from Somerset College, will be leaving for Adelaide, Australia next week, to compete at the Lifesaving World Championships.

Kira, the only female competitor from the Western Cape, is one of six junior women, who were included in the national squad of 24 athletes who will represent South Africa at this event.

New Zealand are the current world champions, while Australia has consistently been the dominant powerhouse in the sport. South Africa has enjoyed a top three billing over the years, and remains an international force in lifesaving.

Kira will be competing at both the national as well as the inter-club parts of the championship, in a variety of surf as well as the pool events, with her main events being the board-, ski- and ocean woman events.

Kira started doing lifesaving at Strand Lifesaving club at the age of eight, and is passionate about lifesaving.

Being included in the national team, is a dream come true for her, and she is extremely grateful for the opportunity given to compete internationally.

General Tire’s extension of its sponsorship of Lifesaving South Africa has ensured that South Africa will send its strongest team to the World Championships.

General Tire, Lifesaving SA (the Federation) and the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) combined to offset some of the costs and give the sport’s best athletes the opportunity to represent South Africa.

Holding company Continental Tyre SA marketing manager Ian Langlands said: “We are appreciative of the sacrifice made all year round by the athletes in the effort they put in all over South Africa to create safer water environments.

“We also understand the importance of South Africa’s international standing as one of the powerhouses of the sport.

“We extended our sponsorship in making a contribution to the squad members’ costs in getting to the World Championships and we are proud to support the athletes who will be travelling to Australia in November to represent our country,’ he said.

Since announcing the national squad earlier this year, the full lifesaving team has participated in a number of training camps, culminating in Johannesburg for an invitational gala hosted by the Ekurhuleni District Lifesaving Association at the end of October in Germiston.

This was followed by an awards evening at Serengeti Golf Estate in Johannesburg, where the team were presented with their South African colours, receiving their blazers from Lifesaving South Africa’s president, Dylan Tommy.