Successful Moroccan conference bodes well for canoeing in Africa

The continued growth of competitive canoeing in Africa has been underscored by the turnout at the latest canoe sprint coaches conference and training camp in Morocco.

More than 30 coaches from the host nation, Tunisia, Senegal and Algeria attended the third coaches course organized by the Moroccan Royale Canoe Kayak Federation, in conjunction with the International Canoe Federation and the Confederation of African Canoeing.

Morocco has proved itself to be a leader in the development of canoeing in Africa, hosting the first African Championships in 2001, and the first Youth African Games in 2010.

ICF coach Zakaria Mahmoudi, who led this month’s course, said the hosts have set a target for other African nations to strive for.

“The entire course and national team training camp was very well hosted and organised by the Moroccan NF,” Mahmoudi said.

“35 coaches attended the Level 1 and Level 2 program. I want to thank the President of the Moroccan Federation for his ongoing investment to educate Moroccan coaches. Coach education is one of the priorities of the federation.

“I’m proud to say that the Moroccan NF is one of the few federations in the region that really invest a lot of money to educate their coaches, and I hope this will continue to be a good example. Morocco has the highest number of educated coaches in the country.”

The Moroccan Federation spent more than 7000 Euro covering most of the expenses of the conference, including accommodation, food, transportation and rental facilities.

Mahmoudi said the foundations have been laid for continued growth in canoeing in Africa, including qualification for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

“I have had several meetings with the Moroccan executive committee in order to follow up with development projects that had been already established in 2015 to develop canoeing activities in the region,” he said.

“The main goal is to assist them to appoint a director to run the technical activities in the federation led by the President and the national coaches.

“The Federation is now focusing on improving the representation of Morocco at the international level. We discussed women canoe development to prepare for the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020, as well as participation at the Mediterranean Games in Spain.

“The Federation is also now putting a lot of effort to organise the up coming African championships to be held in Khemissat region.”

The conference agreed to set the following goals for the 2018-2020 period;

  1.  Increase the number of paddlers
  2. Increase the number of qualified coaches
  3.  Increase the number of women participating in kayak and canoe in future events
  4. To qualify to the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020
  5. Organising regional events (Arab and African canoe kayak championship)
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