ICF President Jose Perurena was a friend and colleague of the late Joao Tomasini Schwertner for three decades.

President Perurena, who had his own battle with Covid-19 last year, writes that the premature death of Mr Tomasini has shocked the canoeing community.

It was a very hard and terrible knock, even though I was prepared because from the first day I knew Joao's critical situation. But I prayed that he would manage to overcome the complications of Covid-19, and we always hoped that he could get out of such a difficult situation.

We all knew about Joao's strength and will to live,

We had talked many times about the danger of the virus. After having been hospitalised with covid, he always told me that he had to continue with his work, that his federation needed him. He was aware of the risk he was running due to asthma problems, and he repeated to me "calm that I control I respect the rules."

Joao, what you didn't know is that the covid has no rules and it looks for a way to catch you and it ended up entering your lungs.

When the canoeing world had news of the death of its colleague and friend, one of the people with more dedication and who knew the world of our sport best, it was first of surprise and then of consternation, stupor and rage. These are the feelings produced by covid.

Joao started as a sports leader in 1989 when he was appointed president of the Brazilian Canoeing Federation. Just five years later he became a member of the ICF Board.

He has been one of my closest collaborators, we have worked in perfect communion. He was important, very important, he defended his proposals with determination, but above all he was always a loyal person, always defending the interests of the new federations that were starting, even above the interests of his federation.

I met Joao in 1990, at his first ICF Congress. He was a 31-year-old young man who had millions of ideas to make canoeing grow in his country, a man who was overflowing with energy. Joao has always believed that canoeing should be for all and a universal sport, in all its disciplines, that is why from the moment he was vice president I entrusted him with the difficult task of assuming the responsibility of directing the ICF development program.

He accepted the challenge and began to work with tenacity and dedication, promoting the development of world canoeing. Today we are reaping the fruits of his work.

The world of the canoe in this hour of mourning and sadness for his passing, bows to honor a great worker and tireless driver for the growth and development of canoeing in all its disciplines.

In these critical moments of the Covid-19 where life gives us many surprises.

And this is one of those moments that make us suffer, brings us sadness, pain and anger.

The early departure of our dear friend and partner is one of those unpredictable surprises.

Joao, your time in the canoe will never be erased, no matter how much time passes, you will always be part of the history of canoeing. You leave a great void in the world canoeing family, and your achievements will remain alive in our memories.

Go your way in peace, illuminated by the blessings of God, dear colleague and friend.

It is a sad farewell, but it is also a moment to remember with love a very special person who has been very important in my life.

That is why "After the tears have dried, after the goodbyes, we must keep the good memories that we share with our loved ones, who left us like you, dear friend."

This is what will keep him alive in our minds and hearts.

May your soul rest in peace.

Jose Perurena.

Joao Tomasini Schwertner Jose Perurena

Joao Tomasini Schwertner Jose Perurena