Canoe Slalom coaches who credit the International Canoe Federation for their development are passing on their paddling skills to the next generation in Liptovsky Mikulas, Slovakia.

The ICF is running a two-week global camp to develop young paddlers from Africa, Asia, Europe and Pan America.

The camp is taking place alongside the ICF Canoe Slalom Junior and Under 23 World Championships, giving participants the chance to compete on the global stage while receiving top coaching advice.

A total of 17 paddlers are participating in the camp with representation from Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Djibouti, Greece, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Mauritius, Peru, South Africa, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Turkiye.

France’s Pierrick Gosselin is leading the Talent Identification Programme (TIP) in the Slovakian town with support from Australia’s Lachlan Bassett, Chile’s Andraz Echeverria Olguin, Chinese Taipei’s Wei-Han Chen, Spain’s Carmen Costa and Thailand’s Atcharaporn Duanglawa.

Gosselin said he was delighted to see paddlers who had benefitted from ICF development camps in their career return as coaches.

“It’s a real success story,” said Gosselin.

“When they were athletes we always spoke with them and highlighted that one of the key points was their passion for the sport.

Turkey canoe slalom icf development camp 2024

“Before they leave the camp, we remind them that they are the ones to pass on what they have learnt in their country so they teach the kids or get involved with their National Federation or organise training camps or competitions.

“They are passionate so we just provide them with the opportunity to enlarge love of the sport so to not just be an athlete but be a coach in development as well.”

Chen first joined the TIP camp as a young athlete participating in the 2010 ICF Canoe Slalom Junior and U23 World Championships in Foix, France.

“I was 17 years old and I lived far away so everything was totally new for me,” said Chen.

“The camp made me feel that I wanted to go further in the sport and challenge myself.

“Now I have the chance to be the TIP coach.

“I got a lot from the development camp as an athlete so now I have the opportunity to give back to the new generation.

“Being here reminds me of when I was young in this camp.

“At the end you don’t want to go home as you make so many friends.

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“They come here not just to practice but to learn from different people as these athletes don’t come from big countries that have big resources so we can help each other.”

Echeverria Olguin got his first opportunity to be part of the TIP camp in 2013 when the ICF Canoe Slalom Junior and U23 World Championships was last held in Liptovsky Mikulas.

“It’s really cool to share my experience of a lot of years of training with kids from different parts of the world,” said Echeverria Olguin.

“There is a mix of nationalities from different cultures.

“This is not only about kayaking as they learn about life and gain good habits.

“The most important thing about the TIP is to passing on to the next generation as you want them to grow.

“Years ago in Chile, we didn’t have too many things but with these camps we can make our way and now we are going to World Cups and World Championships.”

As well as training and competing in Liptovsky Mikulas, paddlers took part in team-building activities including mini golf and got the chance to speak with France’s Jules Bernardet about his paddling career.

Participants also benefitted from an anti-doping workshop run by the International Testing Agency.

ICF development coaches mini golf 2024

“It’s been fantastic working with the athletes here as they are really appreciative and that’s why I love being part of the TIP,” added Bassett.

“They show that extra amount of appreciation and take it back home and use what they have learnt.

“From within the TIP coaching team, a lot of them were athletes themselves and they are now coaching which brings the whole community together even further.

“I have been doing coaching for a while but I have learned different skills because working with the athletes that don’t speak English as a first language meant that I had to step up my game to get the most out of them.”

Today saw four of the development padders progress to the semi-finals of the under 23 competitions.

Salim Jemai of Tunisia and Ting-I Wu of Chinese Taipei advanced from the respective men's and women's K1 heats, while Terence Saramendif of Mauritius and Kazakhstan's Anastassiya Ananyeva made it to the semi-finals of the women's C1.

All of today's results from the men's and women's canoe and kayak U23 heats at the World Championships can be found here.

Pictures by ICF/Damiano Benedetto

Full coverage of this week's event can be viewed on the Planet Canoe YouTube channel.

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