The International Canoe Federation is mourning today the passing of Jan Dojcan, a passionate long-term supporter of canoe slalom in Slovakia. He passed away on Wednesday night in Bratislava at the age of 65, as a result of complications from Covid-19.

His death has sent shock waves throughout the international canoeing community. ICF President, Jose Perurena, paid his respects.

"This is yet more dreadful news for our canoeing family, that another valued hard-working member of our community has succumbed to this insidious disease," Mr Perurena said.

"The strength of canoe slalom in Slovakia today owes much to the passion and work ethic of Jan Dojcan. Over many years, in several different roles, Jan was the driving force behind the growth of the sport, not only in his country, but also internationally.

"It was always a great pleasure to attend canoe slalom events in Slovakia, because you knew that with Jan's involvement, they would be professionally run. His passing will leave an enormous hole in our lives."

The following tribute comes from the Slovak Olympic and Sports Committee, and the Slovak Canoe Federation;

On the night from Wednesday to Thursday in Bratislava's Kramáry, a long-term important sports official, Ján Dojčan, lost the fight against COVID-19. He was best known to the public from his position as Secretary General of the Slovak Wild Water Canoeing Association (1993-2008), member of the Executive Committee of the Slovak Olympic Committee (1997-2001) and Deputy Director of the Anti-Doping Agency of the Slovak Republic (2009-2013).

The native of Bratislava, Ján Dojčan, combined his sports life from an early age with wild water - first as an athlete, then as a referee and, above all, as an important official. He grew up as a racer in the bay of Karloves. He worked in Slavia, Charles University, Bratislava, and was a vice-chairman of the board of directors in its boating club until his death.

During the existence of Czechoslovakia, when water slalom did not yet have an independent association in Slovakia and was included in the speed canoeing association, Ján Dojčan worked in it as a methodologist for water slalom. When the independent Slovak Whitewater Canoeing Association was founded in 1993, he became secretary general. He remained there until the end of 2008. At that time, he also worked as a race director at several World Cup races and at the 2002 European Championships in Čunov.

During his 15 years as General Secretary of the SZKDV, Ján Dojčan participated in the "golden" period of this branch in Slovakia. During this period at the 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games, the Hochschorner brothers won three gold medals, Michal Martikán two gold and two silver, Elena Kaliská two gold and Juraj Minčík one bronze, while not only these but also many other competitors took care of winning a number of medals from world and European championships, or from World Cup races. In 2009, Ján Dojčan received the Award for long-term contribution from Slovak Canoeing (formally the umbrella association of both branches of canoeing).

Ján Dojčan was also active outside of water slalom. From 1997 to 2001 he was a member of the Executive Committee of the Slovak Olympic Committee (SOV). In 2007, he received the Silver Circles of the SOV for his significant contribution to sport and Olympics from this organization. He was also a member of the Executive Committee of the Confederation of Sports Associations of the Slovak Republic for two terms. Since 1996, he has worked for a long time in the leadership of the then Anti-Doping Committee (ADV) SR. Later, until the end of the activities of ADV SR, he was the chairman of its supervisory board.

When his employment with SZKDV ended, in 2009 Ján Dojčan started working in the newly established Anti-Doping Agency of the Slovak Republic. Until 2013, he was the deputy director. Later, he worked professionally outside the field of sports.

The former leading methodologist, functionary and, above all, coach in speed canoeing, Pavel Blaho, a little older, has known Ján Dojčan well for decades. For some time he was also his superior in the union. Pavel Blaho remembered his friend and colleague:

"Jano, like me, grew up on the water. He had been in water slalom from the very beginning, so to speak, from the diapers. He selflessly helped the industry as an enthusiast and enthusiast. He was very hardworking and selfless. At a time when water slalom was still under the speed canoeing association, I and other other enthusiastic volunteers were very sorry that water slalom was not an Olympic industry. He became a permanent team only since the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. Shortly after them, Czechoslovakia disintegrated and an independent association of white water canoeing was established in Slovakia. And in it, Jano served as Secretary General for fifteen years, which was an extremely successful period for the industry. "

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