Canoeing SA’s sprint committee has taken the initiative and put a calendar in place to navigate the Covid-19 lockdowns and gear its athletes towards Europe and the Olympic Games later in the year.
The season starts with the national selection regatta from 20-22 March that will lay the foundation for those that want to head to Europe and compete on the world stage.
‘2021 is obviously going to be another very uncertain year for the sport,” KZN Sprint Chairman Cameron Hudson said. ‘As uncertain as it is, it’s also very exciting as this year has more opportunities for international racing than any other year. As it stands we have had all our international events confirmed.’
The national team trial will form the basis of selection for a number of events that will be taking place during the European summer for paddlers from the age group ranks right through to the Olympic hopefuls.
‘The trial will be the selection event for the World Cups, Global Olympic Qualifier, Senior World Champs as well as U23 World Champs.
‘The junior team to compete at Junior World Championships in Montemor O Velho in Portugal and Olympic Hopes in Racice in the Czech Republic will be chosen at SA Schools Champs in April. This event will run concurrently with the SA Senior Champs.’
South Africa still has a few paddlers that are hoping to qualify for the Olympic Games and they will be working hard to be in good form for the final qualifying event two months before the athletes arrive in Tokyo.
‘The second World Cup in Barnaul, Russia will also be host to the final Olympic qualifier, this separate event will be held the day before on the 20th of May. Unlike the World Cup only one man and one woman from each nation will be allowed to compete.’
Despite the helter-skelter season that the sprinters can look forward to, Hudson and the rest of the sprint committee are trying to put in place measures that can see the discipline produce more Olympians in the long-run.
‘The CSA sprint committee and CSA board have started to discuss the way forward and the future of sprints in SA. The Sprint committee is currently putting most of its focus into junior development, with each province looking at how they can create new, exciting events aimed at attracting more juniors.
‘The Western Cape has its very popular triple sprint series, Gauteng has its already successful schools league and KZN has introduced some existing new racing concepts including a Super Sprint style Regatta and a youth Olympic inspired head on sprint,” Hudson added.
National team trial 20, 21 and 22 March at Shongweni Dam. Selection event for:
2021 ICF world cup 1, 12-16 May, Szeged, Hungary
ICF Global Olympic Qualifier 20 May Barnaul, Russia
ICF World Cup 2, 21-24 May Barnaul, Russia
U23 World Championships 15t-18 July, Montemor-O-Velho, PortugalSA schools /SA Champs 24, 25, 26 April at Shongweni Dam. Selection event for:
Jnr world Championships 15th-18 July Montemor – O – Velho, Portugal
Olympic Hopes – Racice, Czech Republic 24-26 September
(Prerequisite for Regatta Bratislava, Slovakia 28-30 May)
Olympic Games (Kayak Sprint) 3-8 August
ICF Senior Sprint World Championships 16-19 September, Copenhagen
Photo: Team SA’s Crisjan Coetzee, supplied by GamplanMedia