Tokyo Olympic, Paralympic Games To Be Held July/Aug 2021

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After announcing their postponement, the IOC and Japanese organizers said the Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 2021, while the Paralympics will be held between August 24 an d September 5, 2021.As far as the paddling side of the Games, the organizing body feels it’s as reasonable a result as could be expected. The International Canoe Federation said it was the fairest outcome for the athletes and officials, who will hopefully now get the chance to undertake a full pre-Games preparation.

“We will continue to work with the International Olympic Committee to finalize the qualification events and dates for those quotas that remain unallocated,” said ICF secretary general, Simon Toulson. “The IOC has already announced that all quotas that have been allocated already will remain valid for next year’s Games, a decision we fully support.”

“Obviously the forced postponement of this year’s Games has caused problems and disruption for our athletes and the broader canoeing community, but everyone is aware there are people all over the world facing far greater challenges than we, as an international sport, are facing,” he added.

Toulson said the new dates for the Olympics and Paralympics will clash with several events on the ICF’s 2021 competition calendar, but said the federation will work with the host organisers to find new dates that cause the least inconvenience to everyone involved.

“Moving events like the Olympics and Paralympics is never going to be easy, and it will provide headaches for all involved,” Toulson said.

“We are very fortunate in the ICF to have some fantastically loyal and professional host venues, and we will work very hard to make sure any necessary changes occur with as little inconvenience as possible to these important partners. As always, the health and safety of everyone involved in the international canoeing community will be our priority. We thank everyone for their patience so far.”

The ICF is in regular contact with the IOC during this difficult time, and will continue to provide updates as soon as they come to hand.

The news came  just shortly after the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) and American Canoe Association (ACA) decided to postpone the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – CanoeSlalom scheduled for May 2-3 and May 8-9 at the RIVERSPORT Rapids in Oklahoma City.

What this means for paddlers — slalom and sprint — is that years of training and traveling for a chance to compete on the world’s biggest stage are being put on hold, for the time being. And who knows who might peak when at the postponed Games.

“As much as everyone knows that this is the right choice to make, it is also a difficult one,” says two-time Olympian and three-time World Cup Champion Scott Shipley, owner of whitewater park company S20 Design. “Athletes who have literally put their lives on hold for four years to pursue this dream are going to have to wait another year.

“It doesn’t seem fair in the midst of all of this pain and suffering to also be sad about this, but it is sad,” he adds. “For some of our greatest champions this was their life and now it, too, is on hold with an uncertain future.

“I think the IOC was wise to take so many factors into account. Our finest athletes were putting themselves at risk even in their day-to-day training. Never mind the risks of gathering together with thousands of other competitors. I think we are all praying for so many things now, I will also pray for those future champions who would never quit who are now being forced to put their dreams on hold for 12 more months.”

The ICF realizes these, and other, concerns.

“These are very difficult and certainly unprecedented times for the entire world, of which canoeing is just one small part of it,” says International Canoe Federation ICF President Jose Perurena. “We want to re-assure all our athletes, coaches, officials, hosts and volunteers that our contingency plans will center around their needs, and what is best for our sport overall. We are also keeping the IOC informed about the situation confronting our athletes, including the lack of competition, the inability to train, and the changing circumstances surrounding the Olympic qualification process.”

 

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