Defending champion Bradley Weiss stuck in South Africa, can’t race Xterra World Championship

(Photo: Bradley Weiss Instagram)

He had a busy program for the final months of his 2021 season: since the World Championship Xterra on Maui only got the green light in October, Bradley Weiss had already planned his Ironman debut for Nov. 21, at Ironman South Africa. Two weeks later – this weekend – he would have defended his Xterra World Championship’s title, but the ban that the United States imposed on flights from South Africa since a new COVID-19 variant was discovered there, will prevent Weiss from defending his title.

On Instagram, Weiss jokes whether anyone with a private jet can come pick him up. He also mentions, on a serious note, to be in shock how “easily” the world seems to prohibit flights from Southern Africa, even though the new COVID-19 variant was discovered in many other countries. “But flights from Belgium aren’t banned. The world shows how disposable Africa is to them.”

In another Instagram story, Weiss shared a message that mentions how South Africa is “punished” since they were the ones discovering and reporting this new variant. It’s already found in countries like New Zealand, England, Brazil, France, India and Indonesia too, the text says. “How are we two years into this and people (media) still cannot grasp this basic fact,” Weiss comments.

“South Africa has one of the most sophisticated and advanced infectious diseased infrastructure on the planet. Some of the world’s leading epidemiologists work in South Africa. We’ve had to develop these capabilities to deal with TB and AIDS and other diseased ravaging our continent. It is no surprise that our medical system is the first in the world to identify new Covid variants,” the comment – written by someone else that Weiss shared on his Instagram, continued.

Due to the flight ban, only one of the two defending champions will be present in Maui. Olympic champion Flora Duffy plans on finishing her extremely successful 2021 season going after another medal this weekend. Although, Duffy usually lives and trains in South Africa, she was already in the United States and therefore she was able to head to Hawaii yesterday.