Canoeing Cancelled: ICF’s Update on Coronavirus


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The International Canoe Federation has announced all ICF and international canoeing competitions scheduled between now and the end of May will be postponed or cancelled because of ongoing concerns about the coronavirus.

The ICF will continue implementing its coronavirus contingency plans to deal with the cancellation and postponement of Tokyo 2020 sprint, slalom and paracanoe qualifying events.

The International Olympic Committee reiterated its commitment during a teleconference on Tuesday to staging this year’s Olympics, starting Friday July 24, but expressed its support for sports like canoeing which still has Olympic quotas to fill.

The situation remains extremely fluid, with several key events already cancelled or postponed. The ICF and host organisers have now cancelled all continental qualifiers in sprint and slalom.

The canoe sprint and paracanoe world Olympic qualifiers set down for Duisburg, Germany, will not be able to proceed on the weekend of May 21-24. However, organisers and the ICF are looking at the possibility of staging the event at the end of June. A decision regarding this will be made by the end of April, but the ICF will be guided by the ability of all athletes to take part in the competition.

Under current international travel restrictions, many athletes are not able to cross borders.

The ICF will use world rankings to allocate quotas for canoe slalom, and is currently in discussion with the IOC on using international results to determine which countries are allocated the remaining sprint Tokyo 2020 quotas. This decision will be taken by early April.

If Duisburg is unable to proceed, the results from the 2019 ICF paracanoe world championships will be used to determine final Paralympic quota allocations. There will be further discussions with the International Paralymic Committee.

The IOC has expressed full confidence that the Olympics will proceed on time, and the ICF is working hard to ensure it is able to fill all available quota positions in the fairest and most appropriate manner.

The ICF shares the disappointment of the canoeing community with the disruptions to the programme, but is acting to protect the health and wellbeing of everyone involved with our events.

The ICF and competition organisers have also been forced to make changes for several non-Olympic discipline events.

The latest competition status, current as of March 18, 2020, is as follows;

  1. Global statement:
  • All ICF competitions and international competitions are postponed or cancelled from now until Sunday 31 May inclusive.
  • For all ICF competitions after 1st June 2020, the ICF and host organisers are monitoring the situation daily, and will update as soon as new information comes to hand.
  1. Olympic Qualifier competitions:
  • Canoe Sprint / paracanoe :
    • Asian championships (Pattaya, THA)  – cancelled.
    • Pan American championships (Curitiba, BRA) – cancelled
    • European Olympic Qualifier (Racice, CZE) & World Cup 1 – cancelled
    • World Cup 2 & Paracanoe World Championships (Duisburg, GER) – postponed (decision to be taken end of April)
  • Canoe Slalom:
    • Continental championships:
      • Asian Canoe championships (Pattaya, THA) – cancelled
      • Pan American championships (Rio, BRA) – cancelled
      • European championships (London, GBR) – cancelled
      • African Olympic Qualifier – cancelled, see below.
  • Pre-Games Training periods in Tokyo:
    • All pre-Games training periods scheduled for Tokyo in March and April have been cancelled.
    • The pre-Games training period set down for May 21-31 in Tokyo will be reassessed by April 15
    • According to the canoe slalom Olympic qualification system, the ICF canoe slalom ranking will be used to determine the athlete quota places.
  1. Canoe Sprint competitions
  • World Cup/European qualifier, Racice (CZE) – cancelled
  • World Cup/Olympic qualifier, Duisburg (GER) – postponed or cancelled (final decision will be taken in late April)
  • U23 and junior canoe sprint world championships in Brandenburg July 16-19 – still scheduled but to reviewed May 4
  • The 2020 canoe sprint Super Cup set down for August in Oklahoma is still scheduled
  • The non-Olympic canoe sprint world championships in Szeged on June 10-12 is still scheduled
  • The 2020 ICF masters canoe sprint world championships In Ukraine in August is still scheduled
  1. Paracanoe competitions
  • World Championships/Paralympic qualifiers, Duisburg (GER) – postponed or cancelled (final decision will be taken in late April)
  1. Canoe Slalom competitions
  • World Cup 1 (Ivréa, ITA, 5-7 June) and World Cup 2 (Pau, FRA, 12-14 June): the situation is being monitored by the ICF and the host organisers. At this stage the next communication set down for April 15.
  • World Cups 3 (Liptovsky), 4 (Prague) and the World Cup final and non-Olympic world championships (Markkleeberg) are still scheduled to proceed
  • Junior & U23 World Championships (Ljubljana, SLO, 7-12 July):  the situation is being monitored by the ICF and the host organisers. At this stage the next communication set down for May 4.
  1. Canoe Freestyle competitions
  • World Cup 1 (Krakow, POL, 18-20 June) and World Cup Final (Nottingham, GBR, 10-12 July): following discussion between ICF and host organising committees, both World Cups are cancelled.
  • The ICF Freestyle committee proposed it to remove the pressure from the athletes to buy flight tickets and other expenses without guarantee that the competition will be held due to coronavirus.
  • In the coming weeks, the ICF and both host organising committees will liaise to assess the situation and look for the opportunity to set two international competitions later this season. The next communication will take place on 10 June 2020.
  1. Canoe Polo competitions
  • World Championships (Rome, ITA, 8-13 September): the situation is being monitored by the ICF, FICK and the host organisers. At this stage the competition is going ahead.
  • The ICF and the organisers agreed to postpone the deadline for all participating National Federations concerning accommodation booking and payment from 23 March to Monday 13 April due to the current lock down in Italy.
  • The next communication will take place on Friday 10 April.
  1. Wildwater Canoeing competitions
  • 2020 ICF Wildwater Canoeing Championships and four World Cup races scheduled for the Nantahala and Cheat Rivers in the US next month have been cancelled.
  • The ICF will consider the possibility of scheduling new events once the crisis is under control.
  1. Canoe Marathon competitions
  • The world cup set down for May 22-24 in Pitesti, Romania, has been cancelled.
  • The world championships in Norway is still scheduled for August 27-30
  1. Ocean Racing competitions
  • 2020 World Championships from September 3-6 is still scheduled
  1. Dragon Boat competitions
  • 2020 ICF world championships set for November 12-15 is still scheduled
  1. Waveski
  • The world waveski surfing titles set down for Peru have been postponed to July 16-23 in 2021, still in Peru.
  1. International development
  • ICF sprint and slalom development camps in Rio, Pattaya and Curitba have been cancelled
  • The level 3 coach course and development camp in Budapest has been postponed to a date still to be determined.


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