March 14, 2020
Canoe Kayak Canada (CKC) has made the difficult but necessary decision to cancel the CKC-Sprint Racing Discipline (CKC-SRD) Olympic and Paralympic Team Trials scheduled for April 16-19, 2020 in Gainesville, Georgia.
This decision has been made in light of the rapidly changing landscape related to the COVID-19 health pandemic and in the interest of ensuring the health and well-being of all of our athletes, coaches and staff.
Due to the updated Government of Canada recommendation to “avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada”, CKC believes it is in the best interests of our athletes, coaches, officials, staff and the many volunteers and spectators to cancel this event.
We recognize that this is a tremendously disappointing decision for paddlers and coaches who have been training and preparing for months and years to be at their best for these trials. While it was a difficult decision, CKC considers that it is the right decision for the safety of our paddling community and the public at large.
It should also be mentioned that the Government of Canada has issued a recommendation for all Canadians to “avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada” and that Canadians currently outside the country should determine which commercial options are still available and consider returning to Canada earlier than planned if these options are becoming more limited. Athletes, coaches and staff returning from locations outside of Canada should also consult local public health reasources at their destination and in destinations through which they may need to travel to return home to understand the isolation protocols that they should follow.
CKC will be making the arrangements in the coming days to progressively wind down our Sprint National Team Training Camp in Indian Harbor Beach, Florida so that athletes, coaches and staff can return home to Canada.
CKC recommends that all Provincial and Club camps taking place outside of Canada understand the above-mentioned Government of Canada travel recommendation as an indication to begin to carefully plan the return of athletes, coaches and other staff to Canada in a manner which minimizes risk to their health and safety.
“This was an extremely difficult decision for the leadership team at CKC,” said Graham Barton, CKC Chief Technical Officer. “I have been in the training environment and seen first-hand the dedication and commitment of our athletes, but what I admire most is the professionalism, understanding and belief that we, as team, must do what is best for the health and safety of all. I am confident we will adapt and plan for all the contingencies in the coming months and that our Team will be ready.”
CKC distributed information to the paddling community concerning the spread of COVID-19 last week and will continue to do so on a regular basis. Please understand that the sport, medical and public authority understanding of COVID-19 continues to evolve and that decisions, recommendations and guidelines may change as new information emerges. In this regard, we expect that further updates could be forthcoming within the next 24-48 hours.
CKC is keenly aware of the community concern and disruptions related to the COVID-19 outbreak and recognize that these disruptions particularly affect our athletes and their competitive aspirations for the upcoming season. CKC will do everything within its control to ensure that disruptions to selection and Olympic qualification opportunities are minimized to the greatest extent possible and will communicate any further information in relation to selection and Olympic qualification as soon as possible.
In this regard, athletes and coaches should expect that modifications will be made to the currently published Olympic and Paralympic Selection Criteria. Please note that modifications will be made as soon as possible, and, specifically, once further information is available regarding the status of Olympic qualification events, as well as other events, including domestic trials and international competitions that will be used for Olympic and Paralympic selection.
In the meantime, athletes should feel comfortable reaching out to CKC coaches, staff, parents or other trusted individuals to share their concerns and any issues arising from this situation.