Ottawa, July 2, 2021 – As provinces across Canada continue positive steps forward in recovering from the COVID-19 Pandemic, Canoe Kayak Canada and the Rideau Canoe Club announced today that they will move forward with plans to host the 2021 Canoe Kayak Canada Sprint National Championships on Mooney’s Bay from August 23rd–29th, 2021.
“The Host Organizing Committee recognizes the invaluable impact Nationals will have for the mental health of our young athletes. This event will provide much needed motivation for these athletes in their training throughout the summer” said Dr. Anna Wilkinson, Co-Chair, 2021 CKC Sprint National Championships Host Organizing Committee. “We have leveraged the experience gained by Canoe Kayak Canada in running Olympic Trials to create a comprehensive plan for a safe event should the Province of Ontario continue on the current path to re-opening.”
“Over the past several months, we have remained in constant contact with officials at the City of Ottawa and have worked to develop protocols that will ensure a safe event aligned with public health measures,” said Canoe Kayak Canada Director of Development, Ian Mortimer. “While we understand if there is an unfortunate step back in a national Covid recovery we may not be able to host the event, we are extremely hopeful, and are planning accordingly. Athletes across the country have missed nearly two years of competition, and for their benefit, we are committed to doing everything we can to host a safe national event”.
While final race and event details will reflect public health guidelines at the time of the event, athletes can expect some modifications to a traditional “Nationals”. Race events and qualifications will be limited to singles boats, and the National Championships will incorporate the previously postponed 2021 National Team Trials. In addition, age specific cohorts (i.e. U18, U17, U16) have been introduced to provide more qualifying opportunities for athletes across the country.
The Sprint National Championships will also serve as an important selection opportunity for athletes to earn a nomination to one or more international competitions in September. “The Junior & U23 Worlds, Olympic Hopes Regatta and the Senior World Championships are all extremely important competitions for our athletes preparing for Paris 2024 in what is a shortened Olympic cycle due to Covid.” said Chief Technical Officer, Graham Barton. “With Tokyo in the rear-view mirror and no international competitions for these athletes for two full summers, the global competition experience this Fall lays the foundation for success in Paris and Los Angeles.”
The Host Organizing Committee and Canoe Kayak Canada have developed a safety plan consistent with public health guidelines. Current plans will ensure participants will be in zones with controlled access to allow for proper physical distancing. To accomplish this, race days will be split by age and gender to ensure a limited number of competitors in the event area at any given time. As there may not be spectator areas, Canoe Kayak Canada is planning a livestream similar to what was produced for the 2021 Olympic Team Trials in Burnaby, BC earlier this year. The venue will also be designed to allow for modifications if changes to public health guidelines change over the next two months.
It is still expected Canada’s returning Olympic Canoe and Kayak athletes will be able to return from Tokyo and compete in Ottawa for their home clubs. As many as 50 Clubs, from across Canada will have athletes competing in qualifying regattas across Canada to earn the right to compete in Ottawa.
Ottawa Tourism has also announced that it will continue in a lead partner role for the event. “The 2021 Canoe Kayak Canada Sprint National Championships will mark an important milestone for Ottawa as sporting events return to our community”, said Michael Crockatt, President and CEO of Ottawa Tourism. “Ottawa Tourism is proud to play a leadership role in supporting this event, and we look forward to working with the Rideau Canoe Club, Canoe Kayak Canada, and local community business partners, to make the Championships a success”
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About the Rideau Canoe Club
The Rideau Canoe Club is one of Canada’s oldest canoe clubs, and one of the City of Ottawa’s longest continually operating sports facilities. Rideau Canoe Club Paddlers have been racing on the Rideau Canal and Mooney’s Bay since 1902. We acknowledge the Rideau Canoe Club resides on the traditional unceded land of the Algonquin Anishnabeg peoples, and the waters on which our paddlers compete has been used for centuries as a route to connect Indigenous peoples across North America.
Over the past 118 years, the Rideau Canoe Club has produced 10 Olympians, and Rideau athletes have won the Sprint Canoe and Kayak National Club Championship Burgee 9 times. In 2019, 10 Rideau athletes competed for Canada internationally, and won 8 medals at the Commonwealth Games, Junior World Championships and Olympic Hopes Regatta. Rideau is currently the two-time defending National Champions, having won the 2019 Burgee in Regina, SK.
For more information contact:
Co-Chair, 2021 Canoe Kayak Canada Sprint National Championships