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1st Bali Ocean Swim

07 Jul ’10

Bali Sports ventures into the Ocean with Bali Ocean Swim
This Sunday may have held a special significance for our American cousins, but from now on July 4th will also be remembered in Bali for the birth of the Bali Ocean Swim with Bali Sports continuing to make positive waves on the island with it’s latest event as part of the inaugural Bali Charity Beach Games sponsored by Stiff Chilli,Coaltrans,Harry’s,BIMC & Bali Garden Beach Resort.

First thing on Sunday morning, whilst many islanders no doubt were just rising, 33 swimmers from all over Asia and the Pacific were taking to the sea just off Kuta beach, swimming in either the 1.2km or 5km category.
The race as you could expect had a distinctly Indonesian flavour, with orthodox buoys being replaced by traditional jukungs that marked a course that gave competitors a magnificent view of the nearby reef. The only thing that was distinctly un-Balinese-like was the inclement weather that threatened to dampen already aquatic proceedings. However, soon after Olympic Gold medal winner Robert Windle sounded the starting horn (and breaking it in the process by the way, cheers Bob!) the swimmers hit the water, the clouds parted like the red sea and normal, sunny service resumed. Despite the improvement in the weather the rain seemed too much of an ominous omen for some and seven competitors dropped out after just a few hundred metres. However the vast majority of entrants soldiered on, fighting the moving tides and currents with aplomb.
As well as sporting glory and the chance to conquer the Indian Ocean, swimmers were also raising money for the Bali Sports swimming programme, tasked with teaching swimming and water safety to the children of Bali. All funds raised on the day are being used to directly fund the programme and it was a great statement to the purpose of the day to be visited by the children of the YCAP orphanage in Jimbaran. Children with disabilities who are the pioneering youth for the programme.
First back on dry land was 17-year-old Kyle Druery from Australia. Winning both the junior AND overall 1.2km category with a simply blistering time of 17 minutes and 47 seconds, smashing the current record in the process. Completing the podium for the juniors were Ricky Darmawan and I Made Dai Darma. For the 17-35 category, gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded to I PutiTak Valentino (18 minutes 11 seconds), Prabu and Kembarsuta and for the mighty veterans I Ketut Sugita led the charge with a time of 25 minutes 39 seconds, silver went to Owen John and bronze to Craig Johnston.
Whilst the medal winners for the 1.2km and fellow competitors relaxed and enjoyed the luxurious facilities provided by the Bali Garden Beach Resort the 5km marathon men and women were still pounding on. However spectators didn’t have long to wait as barely 10 minutes after the last 1.2k competitor wearily crossed the finish line, the winner of the 5km was claiming his medal!
In a time of 1 hour, 3 minutes and 17 seconds Amos Tan of Singapore claimed the men’s and overall 5km title. Another Bali record left in tatters. Finishing barely 30 seconds later silver was awarded to John Koorey, still whipping most of the youngsters at the age of 66 years young! Bronze was awarded to local Sudarta.
In the women’s category, AmyLee O’Connor took gold, finishing 3rd overall, in a similarly eye watering time of 1 hour 6 minutes 14 seconds, whilst silver was awarded to Agatha Susila and bronze went to ArsiyantiArdie.
With all swimmers present and accounted for, suitably showered, dried and refreshed the competitors were able to mingle with friends, family and spectators at the chilled post swim party, hosted by the Bali Garden Beach Resort. The drink flowed as the sun went down, and to conclude a fantastic day Bali Sports organised a turtle release. Whilst watching children, local and ex-pat releasing the baby turtles, all were reminded of the entire focus of the day, to raise money to educate the young of Bali about the water.

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