Slalom camp in Philippines hailed as success

The International Canoe Federation has just completed its latest development canoe slalom camp in the Philippines, and is hoping it will further the case to have the discipline introduced as a demonstration sport at this year’s South East Asian Games.

The Philippines camp is part of the ICF’s Three Continents canoe development program, introducing and developing canoe slalom in areas where the sport is still in its infancy.

The first camp in the Philippines was held last year, and after a strong turnout and positive feedback, it was decided to host a follow up camp this year.

The camp was held at Malawaan, Subic Bay, the venue for this year’s SEA Games. Being on the ocean provided challenges for the course organisers and participants, but the program went ahead without any problems.

This year’s course was run by Singapore’s Jessica Gwee, a graduate of the ICF’s TIP, and French coach Maxime Raux. Along with teaching practical skills for the athletes, there was also a course on race organisation for technical staff, ahead of the SEA Games.

Philippines development camp

The three continents program is looking to provide practice for athletes and education for technical officials and coaches. In this way it is different to TIP development camps, which focus solely on the performance of the paddlers.

Again the turnout was good, with 13 athletes and five technical officials taking part. The budget was covered by the ICF’s canoe slalom development program, and the athletes had access to five K1 and five C1 boats donated by the Asian Canoe Confederation in 2017.

“For most of the group, it was the first time paddling slalom,” Gwee said.

“The content of the sessions was about the equipment, the safety, the basic slalom strokes and gate moves.

“Two slalom training sessions were done each day. At the end of the camp, the group was able to memorise and negotiate a course of ten gates using sweep and rudders.”

Gwee said one of the goals of the camp was to find an appropriate slalom venue, not just for the camp, but also for the upcoming SEA Games.

“The SEA slalom and dragon boat will be in Subic Bay, on the sea,” Gwee said.

“We decided to set up a slalom course at the same venue. It was challenging to set poles and cables on the seas, but this work fitted perfectly for the educational program participants.

“They are now able to set up poles on the sea. But for any race or training course, you need to be mindful of the tide!”

Three of the five participants in the educational program were also part of the 2018 camp, so had sat through a judging clinic.

The final camp on this year’s ICF Three Continents program will be held in Los Andes, Chile from March 5 until March 10. A total of 15 paddlers are expected to attend, with ICF expert Maxime Raux running the course.

Chile’s Andraz Echeverria, a graduate of a previous TIP camp, will attend as part of the ICF’s ‘Return the Favour’ program, where athletes are encouraged to give back to the development program once they have graduated.

There will also be six coach trainees attending the Chile camp.  

Philippines development camp

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