Swim For Your Lives - Malaysia Puts Langkawi Ironman Triathletes At Serious Risk
Ironman, tourist or local; when stung by the world's most venomous animal - the Chironex-type Box Jellyfish - we are all the same and could be just as dead as the next person in a matter of seconds.
Malaysian authorities recently covered up the death of a Swedish tourist stung by a jellyfish at Langkawi and attributed cause of death to drowning. Now, deceitfully, these authorities in collusion with resort owners and other businesses with vested interests are concealing the facts from Ironman officials and the world's leading triathletes currently in Langkawi to kick off Ironman 2010.
While previous competitions have according to the PR blurb gone successfully, who is to say that this annual event that comes under the international sporting media's spotlight will continue this way. For the competitors and Langkawi's sake it is hoped it does.
The reality is that in the water where these triathletes are swimming there are potentially deadly Box Jellyfish - if not right there, they are there abouts.
Cairns in tropical north Australia has a well documented and well managed Box Jellyfish presence. Unlike Langkawi, there is a fairly well defined season that runs from November - May. The local triathlon clubs - as well as the local swimming and surf clubs - DO NOT schedule any events in the sea during the season claiming it is simply common sense as there is a real chance that someone will get stung.
Is a life worth less in Langkawi? Of course not, it is ignorance and greed and irresponsibility that drives the authorities to ignore the threat and put the competitors' lives at risk.
If the competitors were aware of the presence of Box Jellyfish would they enter the race? It doesn't happen in Cairns when jellyfish are around because it is widely acknowledged that the sea is unsafe.
Alternatives are arranged such as rivers, lakes and pools. The competition continues year round.
Malaysian authorities think they can sweep the death of a humble tourist under the carpet and know that the family will probably be too traumatized to follow it up, know that that they have the power to conceal all evidence and know that other right-minded Malaysians concerned about the trickery can easily be rendered mute. But, what if there is a high profile death such as that of an international Ironman competitor and the media gets hold of it?