Two exciting sponsorship partnerships announced this week with world-leading companies in China signals the start of a new era for canoe sports in one of the fastest growing regions on the planet.

The Nantong Tieren Sports Goods company and the Hangzhou Kayford Branding Company have both signed two-year partnerships with the International Canoe Federation which will dramatically increase the presence of canoeing in China.

The collaboration with Nantong Tieren Sports Goods consists of a sponsorship payment and a supply of materials, half of which will involve the provision of the company’s “Ironman” ergometer machines. The machines will play an important role in the continued growth of ICF virtual events.

The ICF held its inaugural virtual world championships last year, and planning is well underway for this year’s event. The combination of existing ergometer producers and the partnership with Ironman will open doors for more athletes to take part.

The licencing partnership with the Hangzhou Kayford Branding Company will allow the Chinese company to produce and market apparel, souvenirs and other merchandise for the next two years.

Kayford is an experienced international company which has worked with several global sports, including FIFA and UEFA, and for many major sporting events. The ICF will receive a pro rata amount of the turnover generated.

Both partnerships were signed during a visit to China by ICF President, Thomas Konietzko.

“Asia is an exciting part of our sport’s future, so to have partnerships with two leading companies in China gives us a valuable opportunity to grow our presence,” Mr Konietzko said.

“It also is a solid step in our future plans for virtual events. The Ironman ergometers will prove a perfect fit, and having the financial support of Nantong gives us an opportunity to invest in exciting new global activities.

“The licencing arrangement is a new area for us. Having Kayford help us with our merchandise program will help guide us in raising our profile and providing opportunities for our fans. Their experience working with the likes of FIFA and UEFA will be a major benefit.”