New Formats and Qualifying System Marks the Beginning of the London 2012 Countdown **Updated with Files**
The latest Olympic dreams for the world's canoeing athletes will be energised today as the official Olympic Qualification System has been announced by the ICF.
In both Olympic Disciplines, Canoe Sprint and Canoe Slalom, the IOC has approved the Qualification System for Canoeing at the Olympic Games, London 2012. The system is based on the principles from the Olympic Games, Beijing 2008 and the addition of the 200m events for men and women have been included in Canoe Sprint.
Collaboration Leads to the New Formats
The Canoe Sprint and Slalom Olympic Competition Formats have also been revised and approved by the IOC Executive Board and the ICF Board of Directors. The ICF consulted extensively with Olympic Broadcast Services, TV Companies, National Federations, Coaches and Athletes and, in agreement with the Technical Committees, has proposed programmes that will benefit TV coverage and help increase the profile of our sport. Organisers in London are now in the process of implementing the schedule for the London 2012 Games, regarding ticketing and television coverage.
Among the changes that were approved by the IOC were in Canoe Sprint. The quickfire 200m races will add vigour to the events and all will now be raced over 8 lanes, rather than 9. With the inclusion of B-finals, now the top 16 athletes will be ranked at the Olympic Games rather than just the first 9. Another positive change has been the move of 3 days of finals rather than 2 days, this will help generate TV coverage.
In Canoe Slalom, after consultation with Athletes and their teams, the competition format has developed since Beijing, with the extension from 2 days of finals to 3. Regarding the heats, the format is still to be finalised. These preliminaries may be over one day or the afternoon session may be moved to a second day. This is now with LOCOG to decide after they have considered spectator logistics.
Another change to the Canoe Slalom Olympic Competition Format is that in the Men's C2 event, an NOC can be represented with a maximum of two boats, rather than just one. One of these boats must be qualified through the C2 qualification system and the other boat can be entered using athletes who have already qualified in other Canoe Slalom events (in either the Men's K1 or C1).
Talking after the announcement, Simon Toulson, ICF Secretary General said that "The sport is in good shape with reference to the Olympic Games. We were able to work closely with TV broadcasters, TV Companies, National Federations, Athletes and their coaches and we feel that this kind of collaboration has helped us come up with a great Qualification System and Competition Format. With so many people to liaise with, it's been a lot of hard work but its exciting now as we start to see the athletes gearing towards London 2012."
Both the 2010 ICF Canoe Sprint and Canoe Slalom World Championships have yet to be held, Canoe Sprint is up first in August in Poland. Canoe Slalom follows in September in Slovenia. Halfway through the Olympic cycle, athletes will have these programmes in mind. It's theirs to train for so keep watching.