The International Canoe Federation will unveil its blueprint to future proof paddle sports at its congress in Thailand next week. 

The ICF’s Fit For Future document will present options to congress to help steer the sport through increasingly challenging times.    

President Thomas Konietzko promised a root-and-branch review of all aspects of the ICF’s operations when he was elected to office one year ago. Vice-president Cecilia Farias took on the role of overseeing the Fit For Future process.  

“We all agreed that post-Covid, and with new leadership, it was the perfect time to have a good look at the way we operate, and to identify ways we can improve across the board,” Dr Farias said. 

“The sporting world is changing rapidly, and standing still is not an option. We are proud of how far we’ve come, and are determined to continue to be world leaders. Paddle sports are growing in popularity around the world, so a lot of people are depending on us to get it right. 

“We’ve been very fortunate to be able to draw on the expertise of so many professionals across so many different aspects of our sport. I believe the Fit For Future document will generate lots of discussion and lay the foundations for the future of our sport.” 

Fit for future is a series of recommendations aiming to optimise the sports delivery at every level and ensure sustainable development across eight identified focus areas. Fit for future was created in collaboration with key stakeholders from across the sport and provides a flexible framework to support the global growth of paddle sports.    

The Fit For Future document tackled key areas to ensure the ICF and paddle sports remain strong and relevant in coming years, including making events climate-positive, adapting to digital markets, new sources of revenue and strengthening governance. 

Athlete safety and wellbeing, increasing services for recreational paddlers, and finding new ways to help encourage and promote paddle sports in developing countries around the world have also been covered in the Fit For Future discussions. 

President Konietzko said he is confident the plan which will be presented to congress in Pattaya next week will be embraced by the canoeing family. 

“The key pillars of our management ethos are based on innovation and change, engagement and involvement, cooperation, transparency, and sustainability,” he said.  

“Our sport and our athletes must be at the heart of everything we do. We do our job for them and as officials we must do everything in our power to further improve the perception of our sport and the opportunities for our athletes. 

“I invite all our colleagues in paddle sports, especially the continental federations, to help shape the development of our sport with good ideas and timely professional implementation. Successes and progress are already being made as we work together in an atmosphere of cohesion and organisational trust.” 

The ICF Congress begins in Pattaya on Thursday and runs through until Sunday. 

#ICFcongress #congress