Penrith Whitewater Stadium, the venue for canoe slalom at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, has received a $3.1 million boost from the New South Wales government ahead of hosting the 2025 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships.

The extra funding announced at the Sydney venue on Tuesday is in addition to the $3.6 million already allocated to improve the competition timing system at next door’s Sydney International Regatta Centre, the venue for canoe sprint at the Sydney Games.

ICF President Thomas Konietzko, who was present for the announcement, said the extra money will revitalise the Olympic slalom venue ahead of the 2025 world titles.

“To see such strong support from not only the local community but also the generous commitments of the NSW Government," Mr Konietzko said.

 “This upgrade, and the hosting of the 2025 ICF World Championships, will cement NSW and Australia as a world leader in paddle sports. The Penrith stadium is a great advertisement for the legacy value of a well planned and well managed Olympic venue.”

The funding boost was announced by NSW Minister for Sport, Alister Henskens.

“We are proud of our Penrith sporting venues and enjoy hosting, not only our local community and Australia, but the global paddling family,” Mr Henskens said.

Local member Stuart Ayres said the whitewater stadium has been an important part of the local community for more than 20 years, and the extra funding will help ensure it maintains that role.

“Penrith is the national home of paddle sports and will now host a world championship,” he said.

“These funds will not only ensure a wonderful event but will breathe new life into a critical Olympic venue. It's produced one Olympic gold medallist in Jessica Fox, and I hope it produces many more as we charge towards the next Australian Olympics in 2032.

“The $3.1 million upgrade to Penrith Whitewater Stadium will ensure the facility is not just ready to host the Canoe Slalom World Championships in 2025, but guarantee it is the best World Championships ever.”

Penrith is not only home to the Australian whitewater program, but every summer attracts athletes from around the world to train ahead of a new season. The works will see upgrades to the whitewater course and stadium infrastructure, including new course gates and obstacles, a new timing system, lighting and stadium pathways improvements and canoe conveyor system upgrades. 

 The NSW Office of Sport will take over management of the Penrith Whitewater Stadium on 1 July 2023.

Paddle Australia CEO Phil Jones welcomed the NSW Government’s infrastructure boost.

“The upgrades enable us to meet international specifications for hosting the 2025 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships in Penrith, continuing the legacy of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games for our sport and the local community,” Mr Jones said.

 “This essential work will boost the preparation of our Olympic and Paralympic athletes for the Paris 2024 Games, while making the venue more adaptable for other uses like recreational rafting, kayaking and swift water rescue training.”

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