Canoe slalom now to Tokyo 2020

Well, that was fun. What’s next? For now, a look at the remaining 2016 World Cup series, 2017 World Championships and beyond.

The canoe slalom season for 2016 is not quite done yet. We have the ECA Junior & U23 European Championships in Solkan, Slovenia later this month. There are still two remaining races in the 2016 ICF World Cup series in September. Race 4 is in Prague and the final race is in Tacen, Slovakia.

The ICF will continue to bring you news through these races and I will be tweeting results through the World Cup races.

The World Championships and World Cup races are different in many ways. The field is much larger. We typically have three athletes in each class from the same nation. We also have the C1W (Women’s Canadian Singles) class.

ICF Planet Canoe #ICFslalom Balint Vekassy @gregiej Rio2016 Canoe Slalom


ICF World Cup series

After the first 3 World Cup races of 2016 here is a reminder of the current leaders by class.






Alexander Slafkovsky




Mallory Franklin




Thomas Bersinger




Ricarda Funk




Tillard / Le Ruyet




There are 60 points for a win, 55 points for second, 50 points for third etc. The last race in Tacen has double points available i.e. 120 points, 110 points, 100 points etc.

The smartest among you will immediately notice that none of the current World Cup series leaders raced at the Olympics. There are really three reasons for this.

  1. Many of those athletes selected for Rio chose to train at the Deodoro venue or focus on Olympic preparations rather than race in all the World Cups.
  2. The one boat per class qualification system for Olympics somewhat penalised those nations with multiple athletes at the top of the World ranking. To illustrate the point, Alexander Slafkovsky (SVK) is actually the World no. 1 in C1M. However, Matej Benus beat both Slafkovsky and legend Michal Martikan to the Slovakian C1M spot.
  3. Many national federations place their U23 development athletes in one or more World Cup races, meaning that the Worlds best athletes do not compete in each of the 5 available races.  

I know that some of the Rio athletes are done for this season and will be returning home to spend quality time with their families. Others have indicated that they will be heading out to Europe for the last two World Cup races.


ICF World Championships 2017

The next ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships are in Pau, France next September. Expect the French and Spanish to be strong; they always are in Pau. That will be good for Olympic Champions Maialen Chourraut (ESP:K1W) and Denis Gargaud Chanut (FRA:C1M) as well as Gauthier Klauss & Matthieu Peche (FRA:C2M) who won bronze in Deodoro.

The athletes are all familiar with Pau which has recently again been part of the World Cup series. Rio Olympian Marie-Zelia Lafont (FRA:K1W) won this year’s Pau World Cup and will be strong again. The French federation, FFKC, can be relied upon to provide a first class World Championships. It is no accident that the French have more athletes in the top 100 of the ICF World ranking in every class. That’s strategy.

France has five C2M crews in the ICF World ranking top 14, plus three K1M in the top 6!!

ICF Planet Canoe #ICFslalom Balint Vekassy @gregiej Rio2016 Canoe Slalom

As noted in our Deodoro canoe slalom legacy post the 2018 World Championships are planned to be back in Rio at the Deodoro Whitewater Stadium. 


Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Some big questions remain.

  • The ICF submission to the IOC for the replacement of C2M with C1W for the Tokyo Olympics
  • Continuing of C2M at World Championships, World Cup series and continental championships
  • Which athletes decide to commit to this next four-year cycle
  • Commitment of national federation funding towards Tokyo 2020

The immediate post-Olympics is a key decision point for athletes and teams. For the athletes, whether to commit to another four-year cycle.

For the Gold medallist, Denis Gargaud Chanut (FRA), Joe Clarke (GBR), Maialen Chourraut (ESP) and Ladislav & Peter Skantar (SVK) whether to now bow out on a high or commit to the next four-year cycle.

The confounding issue is the anticipated ICF submission and IOC ratification to substitute the C2M class with C1M. This will mean gender equity in Olympic canoe slalom for Tokyo and beyond.

The I love C2 campaign has been strong and many of us find watching C2M so dramatic. Technically, the fact that we anticipate it will no longer be an Olympic class does not mean C2M at a World, national and local level disappears. That may come down to the athletes and national federation funding. The average age of the C2M athlete class is a little older than the other classes.

For 23-year-old Clarke (GBR:K1M), he is clearly only just getting started and will be all the more determined to make his mark at the World Championships.

ICF Planet Canoe #ICFslalom Balint Vekassy @gregiej Rio2016 Canoe Slalom Joe Clarke 

Inevitably, post-Olympics some of the paddlers will retire and move to be part of the coaching staff in either their own National Federation or for overseas athletes. France’s 2012 Olympic Champion, Emilie Fer and Helmut Oblinger have already announced their retirements this season. 

We know the Japanese federation and Olympic committee are already advanced in their planning. A scale model of the Tokyo canoe slalom venue is being tested at the University of Prague. They were positively gushing with delight at Takuya Haneda’s bronze medal. It could not have come at a better time.


ICF World Ranking

The Olympic results also feed into the ICF World Ranking. This will be published in the coming month. Follow @PlanetCanoe or search #ICFslalom to keep up-to-date.

One reflection is the continued advances by those nations outside Europe

  • Olympic medallists from Oceania in K1W – Luuka Jones (NZL) & Jess Fox (AUS)
  • Olympic medallists from Asia in C1M – Takuya Haneda (JPN)
  • Olympic finalists from North America, South America & Oceania – Casey Eichfeld (USA:C1M), Pedro Da Silva (BRA:K1M), Mike Dawson (NZL:K1M), McEwan/Eichfeld (USA:C2M).
  • Japan, USA, China, Australia and Brazil had additional boats through to the Olympic semi-finals.


Follow @PlanetCanoe

There will be two further planned posts in this series. The next recognizing those that brought this Olympic canoe slalom event to fruition and a second later in the month that will reflect on the social media analytics and assess how our increasingly online World allowed us to build an online presence for canoeing. 

Continue to follow @PlanetCanoe on Twitter and help use and promote the #ICFslalom hashtag.

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