20 December 2023

The International Canoe Federation is excited by the future of paddle sports in India after plans were unveiled to establish world-class artificial whitewater facilities in the country. 

ICF President Thomas Konietzko has been in India this week to learn more about the big ambitions to transform canoeing and kayaking in India. 

His four-day visit featured stops in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand and the capital New Delhi. 

During his time in Madhya Pradesh, Mr Konietzko was informed about the state’s project to build India’s first artificial canoe slalom course and whitewater facility. 

Planned to be located in the city of Gwalior, this fantastic new course is expected to provide a unique recreational and competition venue to bolster the region’s tourism offer. 

Anurag Thakur with Thomas Kontietzko in India

As well as providing great facilities for paddlers to train and compete, the venue is due to be used for the education of rescue and disaster response forces. 

This week has also seen Mr Konietzko fly to the state of Uttarakhand where he joined dignitaries to inaugurate the High Performance Academy at Koteshwar-Tehri. 

Indian Kayaking & Canoeing Association President Prashant Kushawa and Uttarakhand Olympic Association Secretary General D.K. Singh were also among those present at the ceremony. 

The facility will be India’s first high-performance centre for canoeing and kayaking with the aim of training athletes to compete at the highest level. 

Up to 60 athletes will be able to be housed at the academy which will feature a modern gym and other sports facilities. 

Renovation work has completed with the first athletes set to arrive in March. 

The project has been made possible thanks to the investment of THDCIL, a leading power supplier in India. 

“We are making great progress in India, and I’m really excited about what the future holds for paddle sports in the country,” said Mr Konietzko. 

“The plans to establish artificial whitewater venues in Madhya Pradesh and Tehri are fantastic and they underline the efforts being made in India to develop canoe sprint and canoe slalom.” 

Mr Kushawa added:

“It gives me immense pleasure that India is already paving the way forward for the great revolution of kayaking and canoeing on the global map. 

“I believe such efforts will bring great transformation to our sports ecosystem.” 

It has been a big year for Indian sport, having won a record number of medals at the Asian Games in Hangzhou before hosting the 141st International Olympic Committee Session for the first time in 40 years. 

India also declared its interest in staging the 2036 Olympic Games at the IOC Session in Mumbai. 

Mr Konietzko rounded off his trip to India with meetings with the country’s Sports Minister Anurag Thakur and Indian Olympic Association President P.T. Usha in New Delhi, where they discussed the development of paddle sports. 

Canoe Slalom