Frenchman Jean Zoungrana has been elected president of the European Canoe Association, taking over after the 30-year leadership of Great Britain’s Albert Woods.

Zoungrana was elected at the association’s 16th Ordinary Congress in Crete. Woods, who has led the association since its inception in Rome in 1993, has been named Honorary Life President of the European Canoe Association.

International Canoe Federation President Thomas Konietzko congratulated Zoungrana for his election, and thanked Woods for his years of dedicated service.

“I have known Jean for many years, and I look forward to working with him as president of the ECA,” Konietzko said.

“He has worked hard to make the French Federation the success story it is today, and I am sure he will be an inspiring and visionary leader of the ECA.

“He takes over from a man who has devoted a large slice of his life to building the ECA into the powerhouse association it is today. It is not just the ECA who owes Albert Woods a debt of gratitude. The international canoe family has benefited, and will continue to benefit, from Albert’s knowledge and passion.”

Zoungrana, the candidate of the French Canoe Federation, received the support of the 21 out of 36 present delegates with voting rights.

"It is an honour for me to be elected, I am very thankful for the confidence placed in me in this election,” Zoungrana said.

“For me it was important to give a new impulse to the ECA. Of course, I am respectful of all the work that has been done with the previous president Albert Woods. This is why it was important for us to make him honorary life president of this federation."

Zoungrana has been leading the French Canoe Federation since 2016, and is also the Vice-President and a member since 2021 of the board of directors of the French National Olympic and Paralympic Committees.

The newly elected president of the ECA used to be technical delegate at the International University Sports Federation (2012-2016) and President of the Brittany regional canoe committee and member of the national federal council (2012-2016).

After his election Zoungrana thanked Woods for the work he has done leading the ECA for three decades, and proposed to the congress that the former leader should be made an honorary life president.

The congress supported the proposal and Albert Woods OBE, who was a candidate for the re-election with the support of the Greek Canoe Federation, was officially recognised as an honorary life president of the ECA.

"I am proud to make the ECA the best continental organisation in the world,” Woods said.

“We've left it in a good position and we have a good team of people we used to work with, Jean will be lucky to take this over."

Andrej Jelenc from the Canoe Federation of Slovenia was elected vice-president of the European Canoe Association.

Three positions on the ECA board of directors were voted on at this congress, with six candidates stepping forward. Jovana Stanojević from Serbia, an ECA technical delegate for canoe sprint, German representative Manuela Gawehn, a wildwater canoeing technical delegate, and Geir Kvillum, president of the Norwegian Canoe Association, were all successfully elected.
Evelina Petrova from Bulgaria was re-elected to the position of the ECA Auditor.
The new board of directors held their first meeting after the end of the congress. It was decided that in 2024 Szeged will organise a combined canoe sprint, paracanoeing and SUP European Championships, and in 2026 the same venue in Szeged will host the ECA Junior and U23 Canoe Sprint European Championships.

ECA board 2023