Mayor dedicates Durban Open to memory of Nelson Mandela
Durban, South Africa, December 7, 2013 – The FIVB Beach Volleyball Durban Open’s pre-tournament media conference on Friday was not the usual jolly occasion, where members of the media and officials are usually seen jostling around the media centre ahead of the day’s proceedings.
A sombre mood hung over the gathering as South Africa mourned the passing of Nelson Mandela, the country’s first democratically elected President and national icon.
“We are saddened and shocked by the passing away of Nelson Mandela who was regarded as the icon of the South African people, an international statesman and an outstanding leader,” said Keynote speaker, Durban Mayor Comrade Councillor James Nxumalo. “During this somber time, the Ethekwini Municipality will work with Volleyball South Africa and Geness Consulting to deliver a quality event that the world will be proud of.
“Ours is an African city. Enjoy what the city has to offer, and I wish you well for the tournament.”
Volleyball South Africa's Media Director Donovan Nair conveyed the national federation’s deepest condolences to Mandela’s family, the African National Congress and Nxumalo.
“We thank the Mayor for his blessings and his declaration that the FIVB City of Durban Beach Volleyball Open should be dedicated to the memory of the late Nelson Mandela.”
Presiding over the conference, Promoter Sunil Geness invited athletes to share their thoughts and reasons why they chose to participate in the FIVB Durban Open.
“This is my first visit to the African continent and I am very excited to be here,” said Daniel Mullner of Vienna, Austria. “It’s winter back home, and our decision to come to Durban was made easy because of your beautiful weather and friendly people.”
Mullner’s beach volleyball partner, Joerg Wutzel, added that the Durban event will give them the opportunity to gain more experience on the international circuit.
South Africa’s Freedom Chiya and Grant Goldschmidt expressed excitement that the global event is being staged in an African city. As the main draw participants, they were looking forward to competing with the world’s best athletes on home turf, they said.
In concluding the media conference, Geness declared that everything was on track for a successful FIVB event in the city “where the fun never sets.”