London 2012 canoe sprint Olympic bronze medalist Bridgitte Hartley has been voted by her peers to be the chairperson of the International Canoe Federation’s Athlete Committee.

The three-time Olympian will take over as chair as athletes from all canoeing disciplines prepare for a return to full international competition after two years of uncertainty during Covid.

The South African is one of the sport’s most versatile paddlers, competing at a world championship level in canoe sprint, marathon and ocean racing.

“It’s really a great feeling to be able to represent the athletes as I am very passionate about my sport after competing for 15 years in South African colours as a paddler,” Hartley said.

“I do think this is a wonderful opportunity to help create a committee who can assist all different paddle disciplines so our athletes get a chance to compete with their best interests at heart.”

Hartley made her Olympic debut in the women’s K2 500 at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, and then won bronze in the women’s K1 500 in London. She contested both the K1 200 and K1 500 in Rio in 2016.

Hartley is also a three-time ICF world championship canoe sprint bronze medalist. She will sit on the ICF executive committee, giving the athletes a prominent voice in the future of canoeing.

The newly elected ICF Athletes Committee contains two sprint representatives. Two from canoe slalom, two paracanoe athletes and two non-Olympic athletes.

Two gold medalists from last year’s Tokyo Olympics have been elected – Czech K1 slalom paddler, Jiri Prskavec, and Hungarian K1 200 canoe sprint Olympic champion, Sandor Totka.

Multiple men’s canoe freestyle world champion, Dane Jackson, and fellow American freestyle Anna Bruno, British canoe slalom paddler Eilidh Gibson, and two-time Paralympic paracanoe paddlers Patrick O’Leary of Ireland and Amanda Jennings of Australia complete the committee line-up.

ICF President Thomas Konietzko congratulated Hartley on her election.

“The International Canoe Federation is very fortunate to have so many great at(hletes competing in so many different disciplines,” Konietzko saod.

“As a sport, our strength is determined by our athletes, and I feel confident Bridgitte and her committee will be a strong voice for paddlers all over the world.

“Bridgitte is a very experienced paddler and a great ambassador for our sport. I am looking forward to her input at the ICF Board. Our committee is truly global and will have a strong voice as we shape the future for our athletes.”

The full ICF Athlete Committee is;

HARTLEY, Bridgitte (RSA) (Chair) canoe sprint, marathon, ocean racing

PRSKAVEC, Jiri (CZE) canoe slalom

TOTKA, Sandor (HUN) canoe sprint

GIBSON, Eilidh (GBR) canoe slalom

O’LEARY, Patrick (IRL) paracanoe

JENNINGS, Amanda (AUS) paracanoe

JACKSON, Dane (USA) canoe freestyle

BRUNO, Anna (USA) canoe freestyle