The allocation of host cities for upcoming ICF world championships, including the 2019 Stand Up Paddling world titles, and the continued growth of canoeing in China were among the highlights of the ICF board meeting in Beijing over the weekend.

China is set to host at least four ICF canoe world championships in the coming years, including two, SUP and marathon, later this year.

It will also host major international canoe slalom, dragon boat and wildwater events between 2019 and 2023. China has also been shortlisted to host this year’s ICF canoe sprint Super Cup.

The ICF board announced it will undertake a world-wide search to identify the canoeing’s first ethics commissioner. ICF President, Jose Perurena, said it was an important role which required a person of outstanding quality.

“Like any sport, we would always hope we would not need to call on the services of our ethics commissioner,” Mr Perurena said.

“But if it ever does become necessary, it will be reassuring to know our ethics commissioner is a person of high standing in the international community.”

The board also pledged its ongoing support for safeguarding measures across all canoeing disciplines, including in important areas like sexual harassment, racial discrimination, bullying and protection of minors.

The board was also told of a strong working relationship between the ICF and rowing’s world governing body, FISA, as the two sports look to maximise opportunities at future multi-sport events.

Rowing and canoe sprint usually share venues at Olympic Games and YOG. A joint meeting between Tokyo 2020 organisers and representatives of the ICF and FISA is taking place in Tokyo this week.

Work is also underway to identify potential venues for canoe slalom, canoe sprint and paracanoe for the LA 2028 Olympics.

The ICF board heard good news concerning the future involvement of canoeing disciplines at The World Games. Marathon is set to join canoe polo at the 2021 Games in Birmingham, Alabama, while talks are progressing to have dragon boat added to the program for the 2025 Games in Chengdu, China.

There are also indications canoe ocean racing is being looked at for the 2021 World Beach Games, and the ICF is continuing to lobby to have canoe extreme slalom added to the Paris 2024 program.

The ICF board meeting was also provided an update on the situation in Senegal ahead of the 2022 Youth Olympic Games. All water-based sports are set to be based outside the capital, Dakar, with a coastal area the most likely.

ICF secretary-general, Simon Toulson, said this would provide challenges for canoeing, but that work was already underway to ensure a top-level competition for the sport’s potential future Olympians.

He said the ocean conditions may require a change to the previous YOG canoe format, but there were several options being examined.

ICF vice-president, Thomas Konietzko, told the board several discussions had taken place with the International Dragon Boat Federation about a possible working relationship into the future. He said progress had been made, but more conversations would be necessary.

There was good news for the future development of canoeing worldwide. The ICF board heard the IOC is supporting canoeing through programs like Olympic Solidarity, which had provided US $50,000 for a Tokyo 2020 training camp ahead of this year’s ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships and Olympic qualifiers in La Seu, Spain.

The camp would cover the costs of ten athletes and coaches from areas where canoeing resources are limited. There will also be EU 4000 scholarships per year for several athletes trying to qualify for future Olympics.

ICF vice-president, Tony Estanguet, told the board he would like to see a whitewater festival developed, covering the four ICF disciplines of slalom, freestyle, wildwater and extreme slalom. He also hoped there would be regular continental championships in all disciplines.

Paracanoe chairman John Edwards urged national federations to continue to support the new disciplines which have been added to the Tokyo 2020 paracanoe program. He said the women’s VL2 was one area where encouragement was needed to increase participation.

The next board meeting will be held in Antalya, Turkey, in November.

Canoe Sprint
Canoe Marathon
Canoe Polo
Dragon Boat
Canoe Slalom
Extreme Canoe Slalom
Wildwater Canoeing
Canoe Freestyle
Canoe Ocean Racing
Stand Up Paddling