Surf Life Saving Australia Board has today made the decision to postpone the opening rounds of the Nutri-Grain IronMan & IronWoman Series and Next Gen due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the Sydney Northern Beaches region and the current public health alerts in place.

Given the number of competitors and officials that reside in the Sydney Northern Beaches and in accordance with the public health alerts, the event has been postponed until a later date.

SLSA Safety and Emergency Coordinator, Joel Wiseman for the Nutri-Grain IronMan & IronWoman Series, said given the advice from Health Officials and in the interest of safety for competitors, officials and the broader Australian community the event will be postponed.

“The difficult decision to postpone the opening rounds of the Nutri-Grain Ironman and Ironwoman Series was made given the health advice from the NSW and Queensland Government officials.

“The event has a detailed COVID-19 safety plan in place and in accordance with that plan as well as consultation with our own COVID-19 safety team, local council and medical officials, the decision was made to postpone the event.

“While we have detailed contact tracing in place and took additional measures since the start of the outbreak, the growing concern within the Sydney region and potential border closures therefore we needed to make a call today to give people time,” he said.

Surf Life Saving Australia President, Graham Ford AM, said that within the COVID-19 safe plan contingencies had been built in should competition need to be postponed.

“We understand the postponement of the event is disappointing for athletes and fans, but this decision was made in the best interest of public health.

“As per our contingency plan, we will split the first two rounds across the remaining two weekends of competition in January and February.  We will determine whether that is the Friday or Saturday (double header) closer to the time once we have had the chance to consult all stakeholders.

“I want to thank all the athletes, officials, volunteers, Cudgen Headland SLSC and Tweed Shire Council for their support in making this decision.  These are challenging times in managing major events and we all need to be adaptable with health and public safety the priority for all Australians,” he said.

Tweed Shire Council Mayor Chris Cherry said: “The Tweed Shire Council has a 100 year history of partnering with Surf Life Saving amongst our four Tweed Clubs and this partnership works during the good and the bad. Surf Life Saving Australia and the organising committee for the Nutri-Grain Ironman and Ironwoman series have shown strong leadership around the event delivery given the unfolding situation in greater Sydney. Together we have agreed to defer the event in the interest of the public health and our community’s well-being.”

Further details on the postponed dates will be made in the coming days.