Too many cooks; not enough athletes at Rio Olympic

The 1948 Olympic Games at Wembley Stadium, London, cost just £70 000 (then about R200 000!!) – the 2012 opening ceremony, back in London, alone cost £27-million (about R320-million. This year’s Rio Games will cost twice that.  Since then, however, there have been incidents galore and blame can be levelled at officials and athletes…
Too many ‘cooks’; not
enough athletes at Rio Olympic?
I read somewhere last week of the names of athletes selected for the South African team at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games next month. The names seemed satisfactory, but then I saw that a veritable clutch – more than 100 officials and “noch’schlepers’ were also going to be given a ticket and expenses courtesy of the already beleaguered SA tax payer.

Now I know there has to be coaches, medial staff and managers – but really are so many required? Smacks of “jobs for the boys (and girls) to me.

I agree it’s so easy to blame officials “doing their job;” but sometimes upholding the letter of the perceived law goes too far – how good are all those officials anyway? If the head of SABC is anything to go by. Qualifications are not important.
The 1908 Games, noted for partisanship and acrimony (Americans refused to dip their flag as they marched past King Edward VII, starting a US tradition. American discus thrower Martin Sheridan said: “This flag dips to no earthly king.”
An Italian shop worker Dorando Pietri, just 1.59m tall, was the elite Italian runner of his time, from 5 000m to the marathon; In the 1906 Olympics in Athens, he retired with stomach cramps when leading the marathon by 5min.
He trained seriously for London 1908, recording an extraordinary 2hr 38min for a 40km race – lightening speed for those days. On a blazing hot day (idiotically, officials set the start for 2.30pm), Pietri and 54 opponents began their 42,2km race. A South African Charles Hefferon led, but as the leader accepted a drink of champagne and a pat on the back by a well-wisher in the crowd, he was overtaken by Pietri at the 39km mark.
But the Italian succumbed to dehydration and fatigue and on entering the stadium in front of 75 000 spectators; still clear, he had to be helped up four times by officials as he became disorientated. Totally out on his feet, he finished in 2hr 54min 46sec – 10min required to cover the final 350m; an American Johnny Hayes finished second. The US team immediately lodged a complaint against the winner; it was upheld and Pietri disqualified.
Wow, the officials help him, then disqualify him … can you imaging that going unopposed today? I think not.
At high altitude Mexico City in 1968, African American Tommie Smith streaked to gold in the 200m in an amazing world record 19.83sec. He and a teammate John Carlos, who took bronze, gave a black-gloved clenched fist Black Power salute on the medal dais; silver medallist Peter Norman a white Australian, sported a human rights badge in support.
The controversial, dictatorial IOC president Avery Brundidge found political statements unwelcome and Smith and Carlos were suspended from the US team by Brundidge; they moved from the Olympic Village. Later Smith and Carlos and their families received death threats from white extremists worldwide.
Brundidge, when president of the US Olympic Committee in 1936, had however, made no objections to nazi salutes during the Berlin Olympics.
At Los Angeles in 1984 media touted the women’s 3000m a duel between wunderkind barefoot South African (running for Great Britain) Zola Budd and American world champion Mary Decker. They were wrong; Rumanian Maricica Puică, fastest that year, would win
Budd took control at 1 700m. Half a stride behind Budd, on the inside, Decker’s right thigh contacted Budd’s left foot, unbalancing Budd. Decker hung close and again clipped Budd; a third collision followed; Decker stumbled and fell onto the infield – she was truly down and out…
Budd eventually finished 7th to resounding boos
In her autobiography, Budd avers deliberately slowing to take herself out of contention as she feared collecting a medal in front of a hostile, partisan crowd. Budd tried to apologise to Decker, but was rebuffed.
Budd was jeered by the crowd, but an IAAF jury correctly exonerated the tiny South African. The devious Decker recanted many years later: “Some (people) think she tripped me deliberately … that wasn’t the case … I fell because I was (very) inexperienced running in a pack.”
No post apologies from the media for Budd…. It was a case of a much used US headline oxymoron – “rapist for trial.”
So, using HG Wells’ Time Machine we quickly shift to London 2012 – should all be sorted by now?
Don’t make jokes.
The modern officials delight in drug testing; laugh out loud (lol). After the on-going Tour de Farce (France) saga, the IOC tells of 1301 drugs tests conducted since July 16 – 715 urine; 286 on blood, with the terribly boring IOC President Jacques Rogge, reminiscent of SA’s late Piet Koornhof’s “apartheid is dead” quote in the 1980s, saying the crackdown was a success; more than 100 athletes being trapped.
Albanian (Wag the Dog anyone?) weightlifter Hysen Pulaku (anabolic steroid stanozolol) was first booted; Swiss soccer player Michel Morganella was expelled for tweeting a message that the Swiss team said “gravely insulted and violated” the dignity of South Korea after his team’s 2-1 defeat a day earlier and a Colombian woman soccer player suspended for punching an American  player in an eye; there will, no doubt be more.
But surely the day-today officials could lighten up?

From Sharapova to anyone else with an Eastern European-sounding name the bans are coming thick and fast – or should I say thick and farce?
Let people ingest what they want; freeze the records, ban everyone, dissolve the Games – take your choice.
American gold medal swimmer Ryan Lochte, wanted to wear a custom-made red, white and blue tooth grill on the podium (many athletes wear implants in every orifice and tooth), only to be informed by a (nameless) moronic IOC official  that wearing the grill would mean no gold medal.
Show me that in the rules?
Surely the Games are for the athletes and the spectators – not the bloody officials? Yes, they do a good job; but it’s an all expenses paid ego boost for so many; the genuine men and women can ignore that.
After all, if a “Queen Elizabeth II” can parachute into the stadium and that prize clown Rowan Atkinson can get up to his tricks with the London Philharmonic and the IOC permitting creepy mascots, the grill must be a most serious offence? … lol again
Talking of officials, the US head swimming coach Gregg Troy gaffed, putting the non-sprinting Lochte as anchor in the volatile 4 x 100m men’s relay. He knows he was wrong, we know he was wrong, the swimmers knew it was wrong … Troy admits it “was an error,” then, later, became anal retentive when asked if in hindsight if he would have changed the quartet’s order, by arrogantly saying: “… No, I think we probably would’ve swum the same …” adding amazingly: “He (Lochte) didn’t have much experience there; I just wish he could have swum a little bit smarter race.”
Are you kidding?
To go back for a moment again to the drugs question, what about the raised eyebrows and buzz about China’s 16-year old Ye Shiwen who swam faster than Lochte for 50m in her final 100m freestyle leg on her way to a world record in the 400m individual medley. Shiwen went 28.93 in her final 50 and 58.68 in her final 100 of her 400 IM; Lochte went 29.10 and 58.35.
That led to the usual “what is she taking” drivel; did anyone ask the same about charismatic American world record beater Dana Vollmer?
No, of course not; officials: Shut it!
To end, one good, one bad piece of officiating: North Korean weightlifter Om Yun Chol (must be in their nuclear programme?)  1.3m and 56kg lifted a record 168kg in the clean and jerk, joining an exclusive trio to have lifted three times their body weight. Officials found no fault in the “B” Division lifter who beat all “A” entry opponents. Well done.
But an ugly side of the Games so far?
Niger Oarsman Hamadou Djibo Issaka, 36, (remember useless swimmer Eric “The Eel” Moussambani?) awarded a wild card, made a mockery in an embarrassingly slow performance in the men’s single sculls, finishing more than 300m behind his nearest competitor. Legend Sir Steven Redgrave commented Issaka should not have been allowed in at the expense of better athletes; Issaka finished last in his five-man heat, more than 304m behind his nearest competitor.

Another lol!
In a first, women compete in all 26 Olympic codes – yes, including boxing. So they are happy, but not, it seems are all men.
Some cry discrimination for not being allowed to join the ghastly Giaconda-smile leers of the over-made-up belles (my words) of the agonizingly repetitive synchronised swimming or the painted marionettes of the predictable, impossible to mark rhythmic gymnastics.
Now, there’s a male lobby crying “not fair,” (maybe in falsetto?).
Let ‘em in; but make them appear just like their female counterparts!

Finally, an unbelievable 2012 gaffe:
Olympic fencing experienced an amazing controversy when a semi-final clash in women’s individual epee was won on a final touch with 1sec remaining and the loser launching an appeal which led to acrimony and a long delay. South Korea’s Shin A Lam led Germany’s Britta Heidermann by a point. Heidermann had 1sec to score to advance to the gold medal; Shin was all but home free.
But no, the timing mechanism stuck, giving Heidermann extra time – she “won” the bout. Without protocol (why I do not know) officials let the result stand.
Shin and her coaches were enraged and appealed. Another ridiculous law required Shin to sit on the piste (unbelievable!) for 15 minutes … she wept uncontrollably.
After 30min. the result, inexplicably, stood
Instead she had to fence for bronze and, no wonder, she lost that.
Wake up officials; when an American dived into the pool (false start means automatic qualification in swimming) in a final after the start buzzer went off in error, she received, correctly no penalty and went on to win silver.
Make one think, doesn’t it?

No medals for the Zika-carrying mosquitoes I hope – but still that might be the final sting in several tails.

1976 – year to remember for bowls prowess as well

1976 was indeed a political watershed for South Africa as the youth of the country awakened. Forty years on those momentous days are remembered not only for their tragic consequences, but for the legacy they provided. In bowls the year is also remembered as the only time a nation has won all four disciplines at the then World Bowls Championship – South Africa can be justly proud of that … ALAN PETER SIMMONDS, South Africa’s leading bowls writer and Media Officer for Bowls South Africa, was at Zoo Lake in 1976 when South Africa’s men bowlers conquered the world …

1976 – year to remember
for bowls prowess as well
Records are made to be broken – they usually are. But a South African lawn bowls achievement of 40 years ago can never be forgotten. Five Springbok s (now the Proteas) comprised the men’s side, playing on home greens at the now defunct Zoo Lake Bowling Club in Johannesburg, completed an unprecedented (then) World Bowls Championship Cup) whitewash against a glittering field of 16.
It should also be remembered, named lawn bowler of the 20th century, David Bryant of England was in that event.
Today, only two of those heroes remain – the ebullient, charismatic Kevin Campbell, who still shows his enduring talent at picturesque Glen Country Club, Cape Town and the quiet, super-talented Bill Moseley (Belgravia, JBA) who “still plays a bit.”
Those that are gone – the late Doug Watson, who ended his days in the Kingfisher district at Margate BC, was singles champion; he and Moseley won the pairs. Campbell, Nando Gatti, Kelvin Lightfoot (the latter two are also dead) the triples and Campbell, Gatti, Lightfoot and Moseley the fours. The feat will stand as unique; formats have changed.
Forty years ago, just to remind you, B J Vorster was Prime Minister; Dr Piet Koornhof, the Minister of Sport. The late George Atkinson was on the world committee; Esau Shapiro headed the SA Bowling Association.
Zoo Lake alas is no more, but I will never forget the excitement, the colourful attire and the sparkling bowls – it was also a turning point for the modern game.
When the fab five went up to receive their just rewards before an adoring nation, the scene was instantly unforgettable. It sparked interest in the sport and within four years 80 000 played at more than 600 clubs nationwide. Well all k now that number has diminished considerably, but the game retains its allure and magnificent competitive camaraderie.
About a year ago Margate Bowls Club staged the R30 000 Warwick Wealth/ Watson Family/Robbie Flooks 10th Doug Watson Bowls Tournament to commemorate that feat and to again honour perhaps the greatest player in our history. Format was two men and two women and pairs, trips and fours will decides the prizewinners. A cocktail party took place for players the evening before.
Watson’s record of five SA Masters gold medals, four in a row is unbeaten (Gauteng star Gerry Baker, also has five wins and six silvers); Gatti was a runner-up; Lightfoot won once. The East Rand super star was the same age as Moseley; alas he battled ill health and died a young man.
Campbell and Moseley, survivors after 39 years, who have lost none of their charm or skills, fittingly have accepted invitations to play against much local talent in the Margate event.
Campbell, 24, in 1976 at PHSOB, Pretoria and named the “Afro Kid” now plays out of Glen CC, WP. He has amassed a multitude of trophies (including four SA Masters gold and two silvers) in every discipline and at every level. He coaches, plays senior Masters (bronze medallist), still employs his unique, dropped shoulder, simple style that is easy on the eye, but impossible to emulate and remains eager to improve – goodness knows where, so talented is the legend.
Moseley a sprightly 70 something, has quit serious competitive bowls, but remains a tiger on club greens. I remember watching him play for SA with Watson at Worthing, Sussex, in 1992. His urbane behavior, deadly touch and nagging accuracy trademarks would help win him many major international events. He took the Masters in 1983 then lost in the final to Durban’s John Milligan in ‘84.
Margate was rightly congratulated for paying homage to the 1976 feat, to Watson and for including Campbell and Moseley in their celebrations – spectators were able to savour undying talent on lush Kingfisher greens … 40 years on, we still pay tribute to them all.

One last golden medal and Gerry will have them all

The South African Protea bowls side has been announced to play in World Bowls at Christchurch, New Zealand. One man, the doyen of men’s bowls in this country, Gerry Baker, needs a world bowls gold to complete a sweep of every major trophy available. I repeat some of what I wrote a long time ago in another blog; it is dedicated to “Lefty”…
One last golden medal
And Gerry will have them all

They complain the world’s inventions and all its facilities are designed for right-handed people, yet an inspection of the long list of left-handers from all walks of life through the ages suggests they might have done something about it had they bothered.

That they are “different” is without doubt … it has been written: “Lefties have excelled at both ends of the scale – the very good and the very bad. They seem to make exceptional leaders, inventors, artists, musicians and murderers!”

The language of being left-handed sets them apart to begin with.

Links (German) and skaios (Greek) mean awkward; mancino (Italian) translates as crooked, gauche (French) and linkshandig (Dutch) are for clumsy; sinistre (Latin) speaks for itself.

But a cursory glance at some familiar names may make you wake up and take notice:

Lara Chinchilla (Costa Rica), Felipe Calderon (Mexico), Barach Obama (USA and seven before him), Hugo Chavez Fries (Venezuela) are all presidents of their countries; Benjamin Netanjahu (Israel) Brian Cowen (Ireland), David Cameron (UK) are prime ministers.

In sport Rafa Nadal and Martina Navratilova spring to mind for tennis; Phil Michelson for golf; other notables include Napoleon, Julius Caesar, Prince Charles, Jack the Ripper, HG Wells, Lewis Carroll and even Bart Simpson “get it wrong” when they pick up a pen or a knife and fork. Even my ex-wife is left-handed; she is a very gifted person.

And also in South Africa, we have own favourite bowling lefty … the formidable Gerry Baker of Johannesburg, now nearing the end of a career spanning more than 20 years.

He has amassed so many club, district, national and international trophies he could open a shop. Now he is deservedly in the Protea side to play at World Bowls which is in Christchurch New Zealand. The team of five men and five women will play from the end of November into December this year.

Gerry, a successful businessman and a larger-than-life ambassador for the sport seldom “gets it wrong” on the green, but being left-handed has pros and cons – an opponent cannot follow your line; but then neither can you theirs.

He’s been around a while; his record is awesome. When he walks on to a green he actually looks a bit like a Napoleon. Compact, slightly brooding at times, he epitomises the loner singles star. His handshake is strong; but he is reticent. He is polite, but seldom congratulates an opponent on a good shot … it means so agonisingly much to lose, let alone miss.
.
Baker sometimes becomes so cloistered in his own aura of invincibility he appears to forget there’s an opponent on the green.

In fact, he is a much better winner than a loser – most top athletes are – magnanimity and humility come easy to those used to victory; despair in defeat sits hard on the throat.

A rough glance at his singles record shows: CGBA singles 8 times; CGBA Masters at least twice; all the Transvaal singles twice; SA Masters (Gold) 5 times (matching Doug Watson); runner-up (silver) 6 times, bronze 4 times; African States singles gold medal twice; Atlantic Championship Singles Gold medal Gold and bronze Medal Commonwealth singles 1998 and Pairs 2010 and glory again at Glasgow in 2014..

Add that plethora of district, national and international titles and podium places in all the other disciplines (more than 120), you can almost feel the pressure Baker exudes on opponents.

But let him tell his side of the singles story as a lefty:

“Singles is by far the toughest and fairest of them all.

I am often approached by top players complaining how selectors justify leaving a particular player out based on an impressive record.

My answer is simple, actually another question: ‘Have you won a major singles event?’
In 100% of the cases the answer is no; ‘but I did get to the quarters or semis etc.’

To win a singles event is somehow different; more difficult than winning a team event.
Skips all too often get too much credit for success; the rest of the guys or girls are inevitably blamed for failure.

At singles, there is no place to hide.

When began I hated singles, but soon realised to be a real player I had to forget hate of the format and force myself to embrace it. I found I was required to lift concentration levels to succeed, learning the first bowl of a head counts up to 30% of the end, the middle two bowls 20% apiece and the last 30% … master your first and last bowl and win far more than you’ll lose.

Singles play is often thought of a game for loners. I agree with that to some extent; I am comfortable on my own. Over the years I disciplined myself to accept tough defeats as a preparation for big wins.

Self-belief is paramount. One can lose confidence quicker in singles than in any other format. You have to believe that on any given day you are the best in the world – I certainly believe if I am at my best no one can match me. I do, however, also ascribe to the pure fact if you play poor bowls, even a novice has a shot at you.”

But toughie Bake is no big bad wolf.

When he does bring out the grin, it has great warmth … tough on and off the green in sport and business; Baker is your ultimate player for all reasons.

Good luck Down Under Gerry – you have earned respect and praise wherever you have played.

Saving makes sense, you just have to ask Freddie

Saving makes sense; you
just have to ask Freddie

Although I no longer play, watching bowls is a wonderful treat. Thanks to Warwick Wealth’s unbounded sponsorship and the amazing programme in place for development from Bowls South Africa I am very much involved.

Our elite players are on par with the world’s best, several players from formerly disadvantaged communities are merit-rated Proteas and many more are in the wings, along with a host of exciting juniors.

I watch as often as I can, cover big tournaments, write blogs and stories, produce the monthly BSA Newsletter with great help and panache from Tracy Meyeridricks a superb graphic artist and generally keep in touch with top men and women. I also act as media officer for Bowls SA, maintain correspondence and exchange articles with bowls journalists from around the world.

Remember it’s World Bowls this year and our stars are confidently expected to bring home their usual collections of gold, silver and bronze medals – from Christchurch, New Zealand.

It costs a small fortune to send our teams – thankfully the sponsors and the government does assist – Kiwi-land is a long way away.

In today’s financially-strapped economy it seems monthly everything from clothes pegs to supercars costs more; that’s why putting away something “for a rainy day” has never made better sense.

What prompted this amazing piece of good advice? Well it was my “tame” squirrel, Freddie at the home where I now live in the shadow of Table Mountain.

Freddie is a great forager. He likes nothing more than to sit on my shoulder and scoff peanuts. But he is conscious of winter approaching and this year has a wife a child to look after.

One of his duties I observed was collecting pine cones, acorns and other nuts and leaves, then darting up one of the garden’s majestic oaks and putting away goodies for the looonggggg sleep – yes they do semi-hibernate.

One thing for sure, those I watched will not go hungry this winter … which, I am reliably informed, could be a rip-snorter – wet; even snowy…

But then getting set for winter is not only a squirrel’s prerequisite; there was a flock of guinea fowls strutting their stuff; tiny; fluffy chicks and all, tucking into anything and everything eatable.

I also enjoy the daily company of a pair of red-winged starlings. They like processed cheese; so I oblige – what else.

Getting nice and fat for winter, they have a nest under the eaves, but prefer to roost up on the mountainside – in a big Scots Pine, I believe.

That’s why I always bored my son about investing for his and his family’s future. Yes, I know it’s a drag and holidays are great, but they can wait a while. He’s doing well somewhere in Europe. And remember, the more you invest and the more you save, the earlier you can retire and luxuriate … I wistfully gazed at a huge liner in Cape Town harbour the other day.

Investment and insurance go hand in hand. It’s a funny thing, some regard it all as some kind of “legal scam” or “rip-off” until, of course, insurance is required after some incident or you get to my age and wish you had done more. That is why Warwick has done so much for so many bowlers.

Suitably providing for one’s – horribly clichéd – “golden days’ means the glister does not turn gloomy.

Going back to bowls … the average age for bowlers in South Africa continues to hover around the 60+ mark – many pensioners who play daily bemoan the costs; I can assure them they are in clover.

A year’s bowls costs all-in about R2 500; golf could cost that each month if played with similar intensity.

So invest wisely with a sound firm, such as Warwick Wealth, great sponsors of bowls, and ensure so-called halcyon days are what they are meant to be. And with cost of everything causing concern, perhaps this will make you laugh?

On my way home from work one day I stopped off at a petrol station to put some air in my tyres as they were a bit flat. So I put the air in and went inside to pay.
The cashier said to me “R10 please”.
What I said, R10? “It’s air for crying out loud, it shouldn’t be that expensive!”
“Well”, he replied, “That’s inflation for you”.

No comment; keep warm and, like Freddie the squirrel, invest wisely for a rainy day.

Are sharks being given a fair deal?

The world’s media, with nothing more than the Middle East, Trump v Clinton and the Muslim Mayor London to talk about has returned the hoary chestnut about shark attacks. You have far more chance of being run over in the street in which you live than to be attacked by a shark …

Are sharks being
given a fair deal?

Why is it that every time a surfer, body-boarder, swimmer, even wader, is injured or killed by a shark the media screams “attack?”
Really?
What does “attack” truly mean?
Amazingly a widely-read information source list shows: Attack (fencing), the attack (band), 1960s, attack records, label, offensive (military); charge (warfare); attack (computing); attack (music), the prefix or initial phase of a sound. Strange, no mention (correctly, I am convinced) of attacks by animals or fish.
Mankind has three serious, seemingly uncorrectable, faults – of many common traits – stupidity, arrogance and greed.
Let us look at the first of the three. One accepted condition of stupidity is indicating a lack of care or reason and when it comes to wildlife of any type in any area and for any reason, nothing could be more accurate.
“Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain,” wrote German philosopher and writer Friedrich Schiller, (Die Jungfrau von Orleans); how true!
Direct in-the-water contact between predatory fish and human leads almost exclusively to a near-fatal or fatal one-sided conclusion, but why do sensation-seeking newspapers, whose journalists are taught to give both sides of a story, always pillory the fish?
I was thinking (yes, even I do!) why do people insist on taking a risk entering waters where danger is not only known to lurk, but where history indicates how much of a risk?
Let’s take an imaginary advertisement scenario:
“Free one-week holiday: Tent, bedding, food/water/beer/wine, lighting, fire materials, mosquito repellent, maps, cell, sunscreen, reading material provided. Transport to and (maybe?) from Kruger National Park bush (any of three areas) more than 30km from nearest habitation, for family of two adults and two children (aged more than six years).”
Of those to apply, 70% will not read the advert thoroughly, or don’t care; another 10% will wonder why so much trouble for only a week (laugh out loud) and 20% of applicants might ask a variety of questions; few, however, will realise the implications.
Such is mankind; remember stupidity, arrogance and greed?
If and when a family does find itself dumped in an area more dangerous than a minefield, what would the media do? I wager some newspaper of TV station would install itself nearby in a reinforced camper, have a professional hunter riding shotgun and report what happened.
Shouldn’t take more than an hour or so for the locals to sniff the wind and pass on the good news about dinner and dessert … lion or hyena Human Tartare and vulture Entrails Pudding are menu certainties.
But did the park’s residents actually attack?
I say no. The stupid humans invaded a high risk area, therefore, must accept their fate; newspapers have no right to print “attack;” the risk factor was probably too high for even an actuarial calculation.
So let’s go back to the sea.
Sharks are one of the deep’s denizens. Superior intelligence affords humans decision options; should unprotected sea or river (crocodiles, alligators, piranha etc) sport lovers take the risk?
Of course not; by all means where there are nets or barriers, but otherwise …?
So if the brighter among us would not think of squatting in the bush, unprotected from wild animals who seek only to feed and/or protect territories in their home, why should sharks be considered any differently?

Some fiction and facts about sharks and perceived “attacks” make interesting reading:
• Sharks attack in order to feed. The image of the insatiable shark that swallows everything it encounters in order to assuage a hunger that is never satisfied is one of the most false.

• 354 species of shark are listed ranging from 15 cm to 15m.
• 35 species have “attacked” at least once; a dozen habitually.
• The biggest Great White ever caught was a female of 6.4m, which was caught off Cuba in 1945. It weighed 3 312kg and its girth reached 4.5m. A 10m specimen is reputed to have been captured; female sharks are largest.
• The power of a shark’s jaw is phenomenal; the highest recorded with a specially designed apparatus was 3.75 tons/cm for a shark of 3m.

• The fastest shark is the Mako, which can reach 50km/hr (the fastest of all fish is the sail fish. at 113 km /h, followed by the swordfish at 95 km/h). Man’s speed in the water is farcical, even compared with the slowest-swimming fish.
• The growth rate of sharks varies according to species, age, and maturity: from 33mm a year to 30cm.
• The record for attacks in a single place is at Durban (South Africa), in 1957, with seven incidents (five deaths) within 107 days.
• In August, 1960, a boat capsized at the mouth of the Komati, on the coast of Mozambique and sharks mutilated 46 out of 49 people.
• The speed of a tooth replacement in a flesh-eating shark is of the order of 7-8 days for the smallest species and from 6 to 12 months for the largest.
• The shark can smell in dilutions of the order of 1 part to 500 million parts of water, and extracts of flesh of the grouper fish of the order of 1 part to 10,000 million.
While the families of victims have cause for grief and we are all so sorry for the tragedies, sharks, if they could talk to humans, might also put up advertisements, how about
“Come in folks; the water’s warm!”
More likely, however, the monsters of Table and False Bays might venture even more into warnings … “Trespassers will be eaten,” but then mankind is too stupid, arrogant and greedy … remember?

• Thanks to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shark; http://www.sharks.org.za/