International Canoe Federation vice president Thomas Konietzko has praised event organisers in Barnaul, Russia, for their preparation for this week’s canoe sprint global Olympic qualifiers and world cup.

Mr Konietzko told a media conference in Barnaul that it has been a very tough time for communities all over the world, and hosting a major sporting event presents a lot of challenges.

But after a visit to the venue on Tuesday morning Mr Konietzko said the level of attention given to staging this event is impressive.

“The improvements at the Barnaul canoe sprint venue have made it into a facility that could easily host any of our ICF events,” he said.

“I want to say thank you to the local community, the event organisers, and the volunteers for all the work they have put in to prepare the venue for such an important event.

“It is very reassuring for the athletes to arrive here and see how well organised Barnaul is, from accommodation, transport, to the venue itself. They will enjoy racing here, and I’m sure will spread the word about what a great canoeing facility this is.”

The global Olympic qualifers begin on Thursday, with athletes from countries all over the world who have not yet earned a quota for Tokyo 2020, racing for one place each in the men’s K1 1000, C1 1000, and K1 200, and the women’s K1 200, K1 500 and C1 200.

The ICF canoe sprint world cup begins on Friday afternoon and runs through until Sunday. The event will be televised and streamed online.

Barnaul made its debut as a host of ICF events in 2018 when the highly successful canoe sprint Super Cup came to the Russian city.

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