Thomas Konitzko: 2022 A good year and a good future for kayaking – ICF President’s New Year’s Speech 2022.
Tomas Konitzko: 2022 is a good year and a good future for rowing
ICF President’s New Year’s Speech 2022.
Fifty years ago, canoe slalom made its debut at the Olympic Games. This year, our kayaking family will return to this historic site in Augsburg for the auspicious anniversary of hosting the 2022 ICF World Kayaking and Slalom Championships.
The Eiskanal in Augsburg is one of the many Olympic slalom venues that regularly host major events and underscores the long-term benefits that sporting venues can provide to the local community. Augsburg has long developed into a world center for water sports and recreation and is one of the most popular places for such activities in the city for residents.
And because ICF also wants to play a leading role in sustainability in the future, it is important for us to make all canoe specialties fit for the future.
The inclusion of extreme slalom underscores our sport’s willingness to embrace change. Introducing new sports has never been easy and many have had to make sacrifices, but adding this exciting new format to the Paris 2024 Program will enhance our role in shaping the future of the Olympic Movement.
After two years of uncertainty, cancellations and postponements, it looks like 2022 will be an incredibly busy year for our kayaking community. We are particularly pleased to have the opportunity this year to present our sport on different continents and in new places.
With the World Canoe and Para-Canoe Championships in Halifax, Canada, we continue our strategy to bring high-quality competition to every continent. In Tokyo 2020, we had three Olympic track champions and one Paralympic rowing gold medalist from the Americas, so we’re especially excited to bring these world championships to North America.
We are sure it will be a great promotion for our sport and will build on the enthusiasm for rowing that arose during the Olympic Games in the Americas.
We have been very pleased with the sharp increase in rowing viewers in regions such as South America, North America and Asia during the Olympics and Paralympics. In March of this year, the ICF Board of Directors will meet in Charlotte, US, where we will discuss ways to expand our kayaking presence in this important region.
The Olympic and Paralympic Games have been a success story on many levels. ICF was proud to do its part. Despite the very obvious and necessary limitations, our athletes appreciated the great efforts made by the Tokyo hosts to ensure the success of the Games.
As for the future, Paris 2024 is approaching us. Excitement is already brewing among slalom racers, canoe riders and semi-athletes. France has always been a world leader in all boating disciplines. We are confident that fans in Paris will react accordingly.
For the first time in Russia, the two ICF Canoe Sprint Super Cups for the world’s best athletes will be held. This is the sequel to a successful and fast-paced format that has gained many new fans since its inception.
The world’s best athletes compete for titles and prize money in innovative formats. With two competitions this year and the strong support of the host country, the prize money to be won will increase exponentially.
The Super Cup is also another example of how our sport and show have been adapted to attract new viewers and fans, and it is especially popular among our athletes.
For the first time, we will also be hosting a Supercup Slalom Cup for the world’s best athletes in slalom and extreme slalom, creating another exciting event for canoe fans.
The growing popularity of stand-up rowing (SUP) within the FIFA and our national associations will continue with the 2022 World Championships on the Polish Baltic Sea. Despite COVID-19, last year’s World Championships in Hungary saw a record number of participants. We expect more countries to participate this year.
Our innovative TV coverage and live broadcast of SUP events have been greeted with enthusiasm by athletes and officials, and this year’s World Championships will raise the bar even higher. Additionally, in 2022, the International Athletics Federation (ICF) will present for the first time three SUP World Cups and world rankings on three continents to meet the growing demand from our National Federations for more continental competitions.
The team rankings, which were first introduced last year, are an important driver for more leagues to partner with big teams.
The Whitewater World Championships, Dragon Boat, Canoe Freestyle, Ocean Races, Canoe Polo, Canoe Marathon complete a season showcasing the diversity of our sport on all five continents.
Many of our athletes have had a severely disrupted program in the past two years. Some had no contests at all. We are overwhelmed to be able to welcome all of our athletes from around the world to take part in exciting competitions again this year.
For the non-Olympic disciplines of polo and canoeing, the World Games in Birmingham, USA will be the highlight of the season. Teams and athletes from five continents will use this stage to bring the diversity and appeal of our non-Olympic sports to a wide audience.
This season there will be more competitions in our disciplines than ever before. This is part of a strategy not only to be present in the Western Hemisphere in the spring and summer, but to promote our sport on all continents and delight our viewers with competitions all year round.
In addition to the competitions this season, the implementation of the ICF’s long-term strategy announced at the ICF conference in Rome will be a major focus for 2022. It is about making successful sport even better so that it remains an important and crucial part of the Olympic movement in the future.
At the heart of the changes is the ICF’s “fit for the future” proposal, which will set the direction for the future development of boating.
This proposal consists of eight strategic pillars: the protection and well-being of athletes; judgment; public relations, media and broadcasting; marketing and revenue strategy; ICF events; Culture of Cooperation and Communication, Development Program; And most importantly, our sustainability strategy to protect our environment.
The “Fit For Future” proposal will result in a reorganization of our Federation and ensure that our sport continues to grow in a strong and purposeful environment.
Throughout 2022, the ICF will develop new plans to take advantage of the latest technology, give more encouragement to the younger generation, and add entirely new formats to the calendar – indoor competitions, virtual competitions and trainings, new boat models that fly over water by hydrofoil and offer viewers a new experience.
The resilience of kayaking has been proven for all to see during COVID-19. When many sports were canceled, many of our organizers found a way to run events. Of course, these events were very different from what athletes and fans were accustomed to.
We have asked a lot of organizers and athletes. But they did. 2020 was almost a complete failure, and 2021 was only marginally better. But we came out of 2022 stronger and have big, exciting plans for the future.
The balloon diaries for 2022 show how diverse our sport and wide range of water activities are around the world. We have gained a lot of experience organizing events in epidemic conditions over the past year and we are confident that based on this experience we can organize safe competitions for our athletes.
Although many of our national associations have suffered financially from the effects of the crisis over the past year, we must now stand together and look for ways to support the associations that have been particularly affected in order to enable as many teams as possible to participate. in competitions.
2022 looks bright for rowing, the ICF and our federations. Source DKV
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