Durban Open changes schedule in honour of Nelson Mandela
Durban, South Africa, December 10, 2013 – The schedule of the FIVB Beach Volleyball Durban Open has changed following the announcement that South Africa’s national hero Nelson Mandela will be laid to rest on Sunday, December 15.
The semifinals and finals, originally scheduled for Sunday, December 15, will now be played on Saturday evening, with the promoter and the city of Durban ensuring an adequate light system for the evening matches.
“As a mark of respect and recognition of the incredible impact that Nelson Mandela has made in the transformation of the South African political, economic and social landscapes we have decided to dedicate this FIVB Open to Mandela,” said Sunil Geness, promoter of the Durban Open.
“As such, a decision has been taken to compress the tournament in order for everybody to pay respects to this great man on the day of his funeral, Sunday December 15. We would like to thank the FIVB and the international players for their compassion, respect and understanding of the situation.”
The FIVB double gender Durban Open starts on Wednesday, December 11 with the qualification tournament for the men and women, while the main draw pool play will start on Thursday.
This is the second time the city of Durban will host a FIVB beach volleyball event, following the men’s only tournament in 1996. In total it is the fifth FIVB event in South Africa. Cape Town hosted two men’s only tournaments in 1995 and 2004 and a double gender event in 2005.
Durban is the third largest city in South Africa after Johannesburg and Cape Town. With a population of almost 3.5 million it is also the largest city in the province of KwaZulu-Natal and is located on the east coast of the African continent.
Nelson Mandela, South Africa's anti-apartheid icon and the country’s first democratically elected president, died last Thursday at the age of 95. He will have a state funeral and will be buried in Qunu, his childhood village, about 460 kilometres to the south of Durban.