A high level delegation from the International Canoe Federation has met Pan American Canoe Federation (COPAC) President Victor Ruiz to discuss the future of canoe sports in the region, including how to capitalise on a stronger presence at the Pan American Games.

ICF President Thomas Konietzko, vice-President Cecilia Farias and Secretary General Richard Pettit met Mr Ruiz at the headquarters of the Olympic Committee of Puerto Rico.

The importance of the Pan American Games as a lead-in event for the Olympics will escalate ahead of the 2028 Los Angeles Games, when for the first time there will be quotas available for canoe sprint, canoe slalom and kayak cross.

“Based on a decision by the ICF board, the 2027 Pan American Games in Colombia will be the first time that the Continental Olympic qualifiers for sprint, slalom and kayak cross for the Los Angeles Games will be held as part of the PANAM Games,” Mr Konietzko said.

“Therefore, the cooperation with the Colombian Canoe Federation the Colombian NOC and PANAM Sports will be strengthened in order to organise a top-class competition during the PANAM Games.

Pan American federations enjoyed tremendous success at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where four countries from the region won gold medals.

The meeting also discussed the appointment by the ICF of a continental manager to support further sustainable development across the region. The manager will also train coaches and create sustainable federation structures.

There is also set to be further opportunities for virtual canoe competitions, off the back of a successful inaugural Virtual World Cup in December. More events are set to be held at continental levels. These competitions will also be used to identify talent within the American federations so they can receive targeted support.

The ICF delegation also met athletes from the Puerto Rican national canoe team and discussed preparations for the 2024 Olympic qualifiers and the Pan Am Games 23. There were also meetings with representatives of the NOC and the Puerto Rican Sports Ministry.

“The meeting was very productive, we presented and assured the secretary general and also the president of the ICF the strengths we have and the ability to coordinate events, championships or Pan American Games,” Mr Ruiz said.

Mr Konietzko said the future for canoeing in the Americas looks strong.

“We learned a lot today about the difficulties of leading a continental sports federation on such a large continent,” Mr Konietzko said.

“We set strategic goals that we want to achieve together as COPAC and the ICF in the future, and discuss the activities necessary to achieve our common goals.”

Mr Ruiz and Mr Konietzko agreed that such face-to-face meetings are important to implement a coordinated strategy to strengthen canoeing on a global level.

Canoe Sprint
Canoe Slalom
Kayak Cross
#ICFcanoesprint #ICFcanoeslalom #ICFkayakcross