The cards have been laid down for the next two years of world championships raft racing.
In an effort to better secure rafting’s place as an Olympic event, the International Rafting Federation will now be running R4 and R6 World Championships in alternating years. In 2009 the R6 World Champs will be held in Bosnia & Herzegovina. In 2010 it will be the R4 World Champs, with Netherlands winning the final bid.
“We received great bids from Chile, Italy and Netherlands,” says the IRF’s Sue Liell-Cock. “After the first round we still had Italy and Netherlands, and both countries put in great bids. Italy’s bid was to hold it on the Noce River in the Val di Sole region and the Netherlands on the artificial course in Zoetermeer. While both locations offered great viewpoints for spectators, easy logistics and similar team packages, the artificial course in Zoetermeer offers rafting the road to Olympics.”
“We feel the organizers will do an great job of ensuring great media coverage, exposure for the IRF, great deals for the teams, and most importantly of all – organize a great R4 world rafting event where the teams are challenged and spectators taken care of,” she adds.
Liell-Cock adds that this will mark the first time that the event will be held on an artificial course. “The R4 is felt to be the road to Olympics, whereas the R6 is felt to be where we get out into the scenic countryside and play on big rivers – the classic adventure raft racing,” she says. “Those that like the punchy, easy to get to, smaller rivers and artificial courses are pleased, and those that like the feeling of it being an adventure to a new river are a buit disappointed. But we plan to have the 2011 R6 event on a great big river again – so all will be happy eventually.”