The International Canoe Federation has established a special commission to strengthen its position in the Olympic Games in a bid to avoid a repeat of last year’s scare when the sport was among those in the firing line when the International Olympic Committee was considering which to recommend for exclusion from 2020.
The six-member Canoeing Olympic Programme Commission will develop criteria based on “key messages” from the IOC for evaluating canoeing’s Olympic programme, which will be carried out over the next two years in consultation with all stakeholders.
The ICF wants to improves canoeing’s ranking according to the IOC’s assessment and maintain its existing athlete, medal and event quota.
It will also assess each canoeing discipline in the games, with the aim of “enhancing the canoeing Olympic programme for 2020, 2024 and 2028.”
Jose Perurena, ICF president and a member of the IOC, said: “This commission is important for the future of our sport. It is key that we continue to evolve our entire sport and search for ways to improve.”
Canoeing received one vote in favour of its exclusion in each of the first two rounds of voting by the 14 members of the executive board last year, before scoring the lowest number of votes in a tie-break, guaranteeing its Olympic survival. Subsequent rounds of voting concluded with wrestling being the sport recommended for exclusion (although wrestling was later retained on the programme).
Maintaining its Olympic place is a priority for the ICF, with IOC funding representing a large percentage of the federation’s revenue stream. Canoeing is in the fourth tier of the IOC’s international federation funding structure (all Olympic sports receive a share of the television revenues of the games, according to a five-tier structure) with only modern pentathlon, golf and rugby sevens below it.
The Olympic commission was established at the ICF board of directors meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland at the weekend, where a number of major canoeing events were awarded, including the 2018 Canoe Sprint and Canoe Marathon World Championships, which will both be staged in Portugal.
Cunovo (Slovakia) will host the ICF Junior and U23 Canoe Slalom World Championships in 2017, with the same age-grade events for Canoe Sprint taking place in Plovdiv (Bulgaria) one year later.
Tahiti will host its first ICF World Championship event in 2015, the Ocean Racing Championships.
The ICF also announced plans to increase the Canoe Slalom World Cup Series to six events in 2016. At present there are four World Cup legs followed by a final each year.