The Tacen Whitewater Centre will stage the European Canoe Association Canoe Slalom European Championships this week – just nine months after it was almost wiped out by devastating flooding. 

Fierce storms and flash flooding in August last year wreaked havoc in Tacen, Slovenia and left the historic venue on the Sava River in a terrible state. 

Parts of the course had been completely washed away after the floodwaters ripped through the site, destroying the wooden bridge, the big LED screen, the electrical and optical wiring and other valuable equipment. 

Jakob Marušič, Secretary General of the Tacen 2024 Organising Committee, said he will never forget waking up to the news. 

“At 6am, my mobile phone was burning with a lot of messages from people saying ‘It is a catastrophe, it is a catastrophe’,” said Marušič. 

Tacen canoe slalom venue flooding 2023

“Our big LED screen was standing one metre under water. 

“By midday, the water was one metre higher than earlier. 

“The bridge for passengers and bikers came down and erased everything on its way. 

“It was a like a disaster film. 

“It was a huge shock for us. 

“We expect high waters in August but this was really high. 

“I could never have imagined such high waters. 

“In history, it was the highest level ever measured. 

“It was a disaster and one of the main issues was that the house for all the electrical and optical wires and cables was completely destroyed.” 

Tacen canoe slalom venue flooding 2023

It was a huge blow for the Tacen Whitewater Centre – a venue that staged the ECA Canoe Slalom European Championships in 2005 and 2017 and the International Canoe Federation Canoe Slalom World Championships in 2010. 

Tacen had also been awarded the 2024 ECA Canoe Slalom European Championships, meaning organisers faced a battle to get ready in time. 

Marušič said there was never any doubt that the event would take place as €350,000 was spent on the venue’s reconstruction. 

“We said in September last year that we would organise this event,” said Marušič. 

“It was not a question of whether there would be an event or not. 

“To find a company to do this and another company to do that was the challenge. 

“By February, we still didn’t have any companies here but then they all came here and they worked together. 

“At one point, we had four different companies here. 

“There were a lot of big machines and a lot of people and now it looks like we are prepared.” 

Tacen canoe slalom venue flooding 2023

A new metal bridge, remodelled stands and temporary containers, a new big LED screen and a new gates system are among the additions to the renovated venue. 

Fans are expected to flock to the renovated Tacen Whitewater Centre for the ECA Canoe Slalom European Championships that will run from May 15 to 19. 

“I expect that a lot of teams will use this as the selection race for the Olympic Games so they will come with their top competitors,” added Marušič. 

“This is the European Championships so it is always an important race. 

“We will have competitors and staff coming from 28 countries so I am sure it will be an exciting competition.” 

For more details on the ECA Canoe Slalom European Championships, click here

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