Major conference announced to discuss benefits of paracanoe

Paracanoe has been one of the fastest growing sports in the world in recent years, with a Paralympic debut in 2016 and growing recognition of its rehabilitation benefits.

The sport’s governing body, the International Canoe Federation, will be hosting an inaugural conference in Sweden later this year, looking not just at paracanoe as a sport, but also exploring its role in mental and physical rehabilitation, and its recreation and tourism potential.

 “We hope to create a world-wide network of leaders in paracanoeing in all the topic areas covered, with the goal being to share information and thereby increase opportunities for recreation, rehabilitation and sport,” the ICF’s Paracanoe Committee Chair, John Edwards, said.

“The sport of paracanoeing has erupted on the world scene.  From 2009 until 2017, it is being practiced in 65 nations world-wide and celebrated its Paralympic debut in the 2016 RIO Paralympic Games. 

“The goal of the paracanoe movement is not only to engage upon the sport of paracanoe, but to promote paracanoe as a common recreational opportunity for persons with impairments.”

The three-day conference in Stockholm is expected to attract guest speakers and interest groups from around the world, including trainers working with military veterans.

The ICF is inviting interested parties to forward presentation submissions by the end of February.

“This conference will appeal to any person who wants to promote paracanoe paddling, whether that be for sport, rehabilitation or for recreation,” Mr Edwards said.

“Research and experience has indicated that canoeing and kayaking has positive medical rehabilitation benefits for persons with impairments.  The sport of paracanoe is an important symbol of what can be achieved. 

“The goal of the paracanoe movement is to widen the benefits of paracanoe to a wider audience.”

The conference will be held at the Boson National Training Centre in Stockholm from October 5 to 7. For more information and to present submissions, please contact jhedwards@canoekayak.ca     

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