Title sponsors of the Dusi Canoe Marathon have ended their much needed support with angry faces.
Local company Truda Foods has filled a critical sponsorship gap by funding the revered race for the past two years, with its MyLife brand of instant porridge featured prominently, but opted to forgo a renewal option that will s offered to her.
The reason for this, they say, was that there was an alleged lack of professionalism and support from key people attached to the three-day paddling challenge between Pietermaritzburg and Durban this year.
They told The Witness on Tuesday that there were two things in particular that convinced them not to remain the main sponsors of the competition organized by the KwaZulu-Natal Canoe Club (KNCC) at Camps Drift in the city.
According to them, the club failed to react appropriately when a nationally recognized canoeing official called for the Dusi to be canceled this year due to alleged water cleanliness issues, despite major efforts. of various parties to improve the rivers, including the club and Truda.
The Mkondeni-based company said these time-consuming and energy-intensive efforts had certainly helped to downplay the instances of so-called “Dusi guts”, but the official’s public comment had made these efforts meaningless, and KNCC should have acted on them.
Truda also claimed the club failed to respond professionally when some paddlers used rogue sponsorship gear during the race instead of MyLife-approved gear.
The company sent evidence of the two major claims to The Witness on Tuesday. Their decision leaves the Dusis without main sponsors for next year’s race in mid-February.
Organizers did not respond to Truda’s specific allegations on Tuesday, but said they “hope to continue a relationship in the future” with the company.
“The Dusi Canoe Marathon would like to thank Truda Foods for supporting the event over the past two years,” said KNCC Chairman Doug Gow.
Through their MyLife brand, they have provided crucial support for the country’s most prestigious canoeing event and we hope to continue a relationship in the future. Their efforts to address and try to help solve the water quality issues along the Dusi road have been vital and they continue to try to make a difference.
Gow and his colleagues will likely scramble to find a new title sponsor in the coming days and weeks to help defray the costs of hosting the competition.
But a consolation for them is that Truda has confirmed that they will continue to support the individual participants, some of whom have been top contenders in recent years.
Organizers also recently announced that they will be closely monitoring water levels and cleanliness as the event approaches. It will start at Camps Drift on the morning of February 16 and end two days later at the Blue Lagoon in Durban. The official competition category will be K1 (single).
Last year’s champions for the official K2 format were Abby Solms and Bianca Haw (women) and Andy Birkett and Dave Evans (men).