The growth of paddle sports around the world has been underlined by three major development camps held at different corners of the globe in the past month.

The courses in Mozambique, Peru and Sharjah have identified and set in motion the development path of coaches and young athletes in countries where there is growing interest among participants to take paddle sports to the next level.

The courses are each conducted with a firm eye on the LA28 Olympics. The goal is to produce world-class athletes and coaches who can represent their region in major international events.

“Canoe sports are very popular as a recreational activity all over the world, so our challenge is to take these participants to a level where they can compete with our best athletes,” ICF vice-president, Cecilia Farias, said.

“These development camps, and the follow up support we will provide with supporters like the International Olympic Committee, will ensure there are no reasons why we can’t produce high-level athletes for many years.

“In many cases we are providing equipment, and also opportunities for new coaches to access advice and teaching from some of the best coaches in the game. We thank all our development partners for their commitment to these important projects.”

In Peru, more than 20 level one coaches were given the chance to participate in a level two course, supported by an IOC Olympic Solidarity grant. From the group, Viky Peregrina Padilla Rivera was selected to be part of an ICF level three course to be held in Hungary in September.

Her expenses will be covered by the ICF development program.

In Mozambique, 15 exciting young athletes took part in a 15-day canoe sprint training and development camp. It was the first project under the new Development National Sport System (DNSS) in collaboration with the IOC.

The camp also updated the training for a group of Mozambique coaches. Progress of all the participants will be monitored over the coming four months, with a second training camp scheduled for September to evaluate development. National coach Afonso Mauricio Francisco was also selected to take part in the level three coaching course in Hungary.

In Sharjah, 11 future coaches – eight men and three women – took part in a level one canoe sprint coach’s course, organised by the ICF and world-renowned coach Zak Mahmoudi, and in partnership with the Sharjah International Marine Club.

The course is an essential plank in the long-term plan to introduce and develop canoe sprint in the United Arab Emirates. The course focussed on youth training, kayak and canoe technique, dragon boat technique and racing, and included practice sessions on Khaleed Lake.

The Sharjah International Marine Club is set to become the first Club in Emirates to purchase 50 canoe and kayak sprint boats for beginners and advanced-level athletes, and 20 ergo paddling canoe and kayak machines from Hungary.

The boats arrived at the end of April and will be distributed to four clubs in the region, with the aim to launch the canoe sprint discipline in Sharjah City. 

Finally, two athletes from Senegal will be heading to France to take part in training and development ahead of next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The athletes – one a potential Olympian, the other a possible Paralympian, will undertake the program with the support of the Senegalese National Olympic Committee, the Federation Senegalaise de Canoe Kayak, and the International Canoe Federation.

Canoe Sprint