26 September 2017

This week will mark the first time the ICF Wildwater and Canoe Slalom World Championships will be contested at the same time at the same venue, and if Tomislav Crnkovic gets his way, it won’t be the last time.

The 2017 ICF Wildwater and Canoe Slalom World Championships begin in Pau, France, on Tuesday, with team events in both slalom and wildwater. While both events have been held at the same venue before, the last time back in 1993, they’ve never been held at the same time.

Crnkovic, the Chairman of the ICF Whitewater Committee, not only would like to see future World Championships held together, but the idea expanded further.

“I think this is a very good idea to have all whitewater discipline here together, and in the future I would be very happy to have people here from freestyle as well, which is a very good competition and very attractive,” Crnkovic said.

“Also I support the night finals, which will be very attractive for the athletes and the spectators as well.

“I think there is also some positive potential benefits for the organisers. This venue now looks like a small city with plenty of athletes, coaches and spectators.”

Wilrdwater canoeing has two main disciplines, the shorter sprint events which will be contested this week, and the longer classic events which are contested every second year.

While Wildwater Classic would not work at an artificial slalom venue, Crnkovic is also looking at ways to make sure that discipline also continues to grow.

“We must not forget the basics for wildwater canoeing, which is the Classic race,” he said.

“We are already preparing some changes so that we don’t lose the Classic race. We just want to make the Classic race much better and more interesting, to involve new categories and make some new rules about equipment.

“Wildwater canoeing, and equipment for the wildwater sport is really specific. It’s not being used for outside competitions, so we would like to make, especially for the Classic race, that people can attend in their own boat, to not be so specific like the wildwater boat is.”

Crnkovic said combining the two events can already be considered a success, with strong pre-event ticket sales, live television coverage of the finals, and night finals on the weekend.

“Even yesterday when it was a sunny day we had 4000 or 5000 spectators coming down for the training,” he said.

“I think for the finals, especially in the Olympic disciplines, there will be many more spectators, and on Saturday the wildwater night finals will be very good.

The conditions here are very good for the training and for the competition. And there are some athletes who will compete in both disciplines, especially for the team races.

“This will be set for the next two World Championships, in La Seu in 2019 and 2021 in Bratislava.”

The 2017 ICF Wildwater and Canoe Marathon World Championships begin today and run through until Sunday. 

Canoe Slalom
Wildwater Canoeing
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