ICF in discussion about new canoe sprint series

The International Canoe Federation is in active discussion with several countries interested in being part of an exciting new canoe sprint series which will showcase the best athletes in the world.

ICF Canoe Sprint Chairman, Frank Garner, said he hoped the made-for-television series would take sprint canoe to all corners of the globe and increase the exposure of the Olympic sport.

“We have to get creative, we have to get exciting,” Garner said.

“We’ve got the flexibility to do something outside the box. The series would be complimentary to our World Cups.

“It’s a chance to show our best athletes around the world. It’s a good way to promote canoe sprint and our World Cups.”

The new series would be open to the top eight athletes in the world, plus two wildcard entries and two local athletes in both K1 and C1 disciplines.

The events would be run over non-Olympic distances, to accommodate the best 200 and 1000 metre paddlers. Most competitions would last no longer than one hour.

It is hoped the format will attract the interest of major cities around the world who would be interested in staging the event on their city waterways.

Discussions are already underway with two cities in China, as well as the Russian Canoeing Federation. Budapest already has an event planned this year which will be supported by the ICF.

“We would focus on bringing these events to television,” Garner said.

“We want to have tv broadcasters lined up before we sign off on the final program, but we are confident this is a format that will excite them. We are also confident the athletes will embrace the series, especially if we can offer attractive prizemoney.”

ICF President Jose Perurena told the sport’s board meeting in Tokyo that canoeing needs to be innovative.

“All sports are going in this direction,” he said.

“It’s about taking the sport to the populations. We need competition to show around the world.

“We need to show the world our best athletes, not just in Europe, but around the world in places like China, the USA and Russia.”

Sprint canoe will be part of this year’s European University Games for the first time.

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