JUNE 1, 2020 – OTTAWA, ON – Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Canada Kayak Canada (CKC) has made the difficult decision to not proceed with nominating Sprint and Paracanoe International teams for the entire 2020 competition season.
This critical decision was guided by medical advice and extensively reviewed by the CKC leadership staff and the Sprint Racing Council. The risks associated with international travel during the COVID-19 crisis outweigh any benefit to our athletes and high performance programs.
“This year has forced all of us to re-adapt, re-evaluate and re-prioritize,” said 2016 Rio Paralympian Erica Scarff. “Paracanoe athletes are no strangers to living with the unknowns but that doesn’t make our training, with no specific competitions in sight, any easier. However, this is definitely the right decision to keep us all safe and we will continue to be leaders in our paddling community to ensure we do our part in combating the spread of the virus.”
We recognize how difficult this news will be for our athletes who are working hard for a chance to qualify to race for Canada at the Olympic Hopes Regatta and ICF Non-Olympic World Championships / Canoe Sprint Olympic Events World Cup / Paracanoe World Cup. Our focus remains on staying safe, while doing whatever training is possible in each region of Canada as we collectively move through this crisis.
“We committed to our team that we would inform them at the beginning of June what our decision would be based on all available information at the time,” explained Graham Barton, CKC Chief Technical Officer. “Advice from the medical community was the starting point and we didn’t get past this hurdle in terms of teams travelling internationally. I am happy that in most communities a return to the water in some form or another is now possible. We will be working with our national coaches to explore every opportunity for our team to improve their training options in the coming weeks and are leaving open for now the possibility that we may be able to compete domestically in the fall even if it is virtual or regional events. We want to thank all of our volunteers and staff for their dedication and support as we continue to navigate this unique situation.”
Canoe Kayak Canada has identified the September 26th weekend as the date for a new National Regatta to be held virtually, with some in-person elements, if possible at that time. The format of this competition, and how it integrates with our National Team and Provincial/Territorial programing will be determined based on the shifting reality of the COVID-19 pandemic. Details of this new event, and other competitive options will be established with our Divisional and Provincial/Territorial partners, officials, coaches and athlete representatives throughout the month of June, with a target of announcing these plans in early July.
Updates to team selection and Athlete Assistance Program criteria will be made in the next month, in partnership with the Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee and Sport Canada.
About Canoe Kayak Canada
Canoe Kayak Canada (CKC) is the national governing body for competitive paddling in Canada, one of Canada’s top performing summer sports with a total of 24 Olympic medals, and a leader in the Paralympic movement. Canoe Kayak Canada is a member-based organization that includes an intricate network of clubs as well as provincial, territorial and divisional paddling associations. Elite National Team athletes proudly represent Canada at various competitions around the globe – most notably the Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, Pan American Games, ICF World Cups as well as Junior, Under 23 and Senior World Championships. Follow Canoe Kayak Canada on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.