The International Canoe Federation will provide extra focus to the mixed canoe slalom event, with a possibility it could eventually be introduced to the Olympic program.

An ICF board meeting in Tokyo voted to continue support for the new discipline, while at the same time agreeing to drop the men’s C2 from the World Championship and World Cup programs, effective immediately.

The men’s C2 will not be part of the Tokyo 2020 program, and numbers dropped off during last year’s ICF World Cup program.

However with the IOC’s strong focus on gender equality, mixed C2 would fit well inside Olympic guidelines.

“The C2 mixed has a possibility to get into the Olympics,” ICF President Jose Perurena said.

“The key criteria is there would not need to be an increase in our athlete numbers, and we would need just one more medal."

ICF Canoe Slalom committee president Jean-Michel Prono said the ICF had conducted a survey of all the National Canoe Federations to determine their intentions for the C2 events this season.

He said it was clear from the responses that the ICF would struggle to have enough boats in the World Championship C2 men’s events to stage a valid competition.

The numbers were slightly higher for the mixed C2.

“We were not able to get close to the minimum number of federations required to have a valid men’s C2 event,” Prono said.

“C2 mixed numbers were higher, and it is the beginning of the process. Our role is to make things clear.

“We are not happy to have to remove an event, it is a sad decision for us to take. But we need to be clear to all the Federations and the athletes.”

There will be five ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup events this year, with the 2018 World Championships to be held at the 2016 Rio Olympic venue in September.

Canoe Slalom