Rome, Italy (November 30) – The ICF successfully finished its largest ever Congress on Saturday in the beautiful and historic city of Rome. The bi-annual Congress attracted 110 voting countries from around the world. The Congress was an excellent opportunity for the Federation to reflect on the sport of Canoeing and its future direction including an in depth assessment of Canoeing at the Olympic Games in Beijing.
“There is still work to be done and improvements can be made but canoeing is in a good situation with regards to the Olympics. Benjamin Boukpeti (TOG) winning of Africa’s first Canoeing medal made for a huge surge in media interest around him and our sport globally,” Brandi Derksen, the Media and Public Relations Officer for the ICF, said.
Managing this surge in interest will be a new president. After 10 years at the helm, Mr. Ulrich Feldhoff of Germany stepped down as the ICF President. Mr. Feldhoff was given a well-deserved standing ovation for his hard work and dedication to the ICF. He presided over canoeing at three Olympic Games and many World Championships in the ten-year period. Replacing him will be Mr. José Perurena from Spain who received the unanimous vote of the Congress. Mr. Perurena was the ICFs Vice President and has also previously held the position of the Secretary General within the Federation. He’ll start work immediately and chaired his first Board meeting in Rome as President on Sunday, 30 November 2008.
“We have elected virtually a new Executive Committee who are really talented. I’m looking forward to working with them and the Board to implement the ICF strategic plan and licensing program,” Mr. Perurena said.
Also celebrating his victory was Mr. István Vaskuti of Hungary who was elected as the ICFs First Vice President. He is currently the Vice President of the Hungarian Canoe Federation and has served four years as the Flatwater Racing Chairman for the ICF. He won an Olympic Gold medal in Canoeing in 1980 and nine Gold medals in World Championships. The nomination for the Second Vice President went to Mr. Richard Fox of Australia. Mr. Fox is no stranger to Canoeing – he was five time Slalom Racing World Champion between 1980-1989, five time World Team Champion, and is currently the head coach for the Australian Canoe Team. He is arguably the most decorated athlete in Canoe Slalom.
The new elected officials took on a slew of tasks at the conference that included name changes for a couple of the sport’s disciplines. Flatwater Racing will now be known as Canoe Sprint, Slalom Racing is now known as Canoe Slalom, and Marathon Racing will be Canoe Marathon. The Congress also approved a new program for Canoe Sprint in Dartmouth, Canada, a new ICFs commercial logo and website and added 7 more countries to the organization to bring the total up to 147.
The ICFs next Congress will be held in Spain in 2010.