By Craig Cooper

Last Sunday, a Beach 2 Basin entrant won a trip to Fiji in a spot prize draw.

However, whilst she entered the Whangarei race, she chose to not take part on the day, but still placed her race number in a bin, for the prize draw.

Because of the wet weather, organisers Sport Northland drew the spot prizes indoors and winners were announced via radio, Facebook and emails.

Sport Northland's brief Beach 2 Basin prize rules contain the word "participant" - which dictionaries define as a person who takes part in something.


Entrants who finished the race say that to qualify for a prize, you should take part.

The Beach 2 Basin rules refers participants to a website for "full terms and conditions for all prize draws".

Unfortunately, there are limited and dated terms and conditions with conflicting, confusing rules.

Perhaps unwritten rules should guide the situation. Sport is full of them.

A batter voluntarily "walking" off the pitch (thereby signalling he is out) when there is doubt as to whether they are out is regarded as a sign of true sportsmanship. But not many players do it.

It has become accepted to wait for the umpire to make their decision.

In this case, Sport Northland is the umpire.

The prize draw - its rules and spirit - is Sport Northland's responsibility.

And they are guided by the Gambling Act (Prize Competition) Game Rules 2004 which are quite clear: "The organiser shall clearly indicate to all participants the rules and requirements by which the prize competition will be played".

In this instance, Sport Northland has correctly deemed the current rules allow the winner to keep the prize.

But the current rules aren't clear and Sport Northland is doing the right thing by reviewing the controversy.

And good sportsmanship suggests Sport Northland should impose a condition that to enter the prize draw, you need to have taken part in the event.

Only a bad sport would begrudge that change.