As usual, before the start of the ICF Junior and U23 Canoe Slalom World Championships the Talent Identification Programme (TIP) training camp was held in Ivrea. Participants from 15 countries and five continents were a part of this training group.

Fifteen days of TIP training camp was organised before the 2022 ICF Junior and U23 Canoe Slalom World Championships in Ivrea kicked off. The Talent Identification Programme (TIP) offers accommodation, transport and coaching to the athletes of smaller nations and is usually held before the World Championships or World Cup races.

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The most important thing is to have some nice coaching and the opportunity to practice on international courses. It gives athletes more time to practice and it's cheaper for some small federations who don't have more support from the government," said Nadjib Mazar from the ICF TIP.

Six coaches were in charge of the athletes and they were divided into smaller groups which offered better work conditions for everyone as coaches were able to dedicate their attention to smaller number of athletes.

The work of the TIP has resulted in improvement of the athletes from small countries. Terence Saramandif from Mauritius has been a part of the TIP for over four years now. In 2018, he surprised everyone by winning the C1 event of the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, and this year he qualified for the semi-final of men's U23 canoe event. He was 15th at the end.

I've been in the TIP programme just before the Youth Olympic Games. It's always a good opportunity to be here with the TIP. The best thing is paddling with good friends and having a coach. It's really good for small nations to be in the TIP, to be a part of the competition with the help of the ICF and the TIP," said Terence.

For now, Terence is the only athlete representing Mauritius in canoe slalom: "We are trying a little bit to develop canoeing there. With Covid it was difficult, but now it's better and I hope we will soon have several athletes to compete in canoe slalom for Mauritius. We are trying to make some designs for a course there, but it's pretty hard and we don't have a lot of athletes. But we have La Reunion just next to us. Once we have some people there paddling, we can do some training camp in La Reunion to improve the team."

Terence, being one of the most experienced paddlers in the TIP, loves the atmosphere and everything within the TIP. "Being around with good people, good coaches, other athletes. At first, I did some competitions alone, it is not the same. Now I can play cards with friends when I finish my race. It's perfect. Alone, you just finish your race and go home. With TIP, it's really good to be around good people, friends, people you've met a long time ago, new people you just met," he concluded.

Iris Sommernes from Norway took part in the TIP for the second time: "It was really fun to be here at such a big competition and with so many athletes from all over the world, and to see old friend and get new ones."

I like that we have coaches that can show us what we can work on and that follow us through all the training camp and in the competition. We also meet people that like to do the same things as me."

Solomon John William Maragh Jamaica 2022 ICF Canoe Slalom Junior & U23 World Championships Ivrea Italy

And how does the usual day in the TIP look like?

We have one or two trainings a day. Usually we have one wildwater session and then we do some flatwater or extreme. It's good to start knowing each other in international races and we can see someone like Terence who are used of this camp. All people are cheering for him during his race, so it's amazing to see a lot of people cheering for different countries. For me this is what sport is."

I am really happy to see the support from the ICF and to see all the paddlers here. It's one of the best experience with the TIP, because we have different cultures mixing in the same place. This time we did not have a chance to be all together in one accommodation, because Ivrea it's a small city, so we were split into three different accommodations. When we are all together is fun, because we have different experiences," Mazar added.

The next TIP training camp will be held ahead of the 2022 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships in Augsburg.

Canoe Slalom