Development of Canoe on the Continent by Panam Sports and COPAC

Through the “Training Camp” program, 18 athletes from six countries were able to participate in a training season for the Pan American Slalom Canoe Championship and guarantee their medals.

During the Pan American Slalom Canoe Championships held in Três Coroas / RS between April 26 and 28 we had a very special participation of 18 athletes from six countries. They came to Brazil thanks to the Panam Sports Technical Training Project. The internationally called “Training Camp” initiative is part of the Strategic Sports Plan to help countries in the region that need more support to develop sports and athletes.

Through an agreement of Panam Sports and COPAC – Pan American Canoe Federation made possible the aid for the attendance of these athletes. The canoeists came from Venezuela, Mexico, Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Costa Rica and the International Canoe Federation (ICF) indicated two local coaches: Edrei Ascensio and João Vitor Machado. “We have already begun to notice an evolution of these athletes who did not have so much tradition in Canoe Slalom in their countries, now we can already evaluate a development in Mexico and Chile for example, it is very important for our modality to grow in our continent” , says João Vitor.

With good training the result comes with medals and the Mexicans have secured four podiums in the competition, winning two silver medals, one with Antonio Reinoso in the Extreme Canoe Slalom Senior Male competition and also with Sasha Azcona in the Extreme Canoe Slalom Junior Female, in addition to two bronzes with Sasha Azcona in the Junior Female C1 and Sofia Reinoso in the Senior Female K1.

Venezuela brought home two bronzes in the K1 and C1 Senior Male Team contests. And the Chilean athlete Ignacio Bakovic secured the highest place on the podium with a gold in the Extreme Canoe Slalom Junior Male competition and a bronze by the Junior Male K1.

Axi Fonseca of Costa Rica is also returning home excited, he ranked fourth by the K1 Senior Male. “I’m very happy with my results. What helped me to achieve this result was the fact that I could train for almost a month here in Brazil. The training is essential, and this project is very important even more because thanks to it we managed to qualify for the Pan American Games”, recalls the 19 years old canoeist.

Chilean Constanza Nobis, 17, comments that this program is the “best of worlds” for her as an athlete. “For us it is very important, especially in a country like mine where are many athletes who want to paddle, but still lacking a bit of support, and being able to be here motivates us a lot to continue paddling and helps us to grow more in this sport,” she says.

For João Tomasini Schwertner, president of the Pan American Canoe Federation and the Brazilian Canoe Confederation, the strategy helps countries to further develop the sport. “I see Training Camp as fundamental; we have received all the help from Panam Sports, which provided transportation, food and accommodation for these athletes, we gave all support and we had a great championship thanks to the presence of these 18 athletes. It will be even more exciting to see them participating in the Lima Pan-American Games with the acquired strategy and knowledge from those days when they stayed in Brazil, “he says.

In addition to Canoe Slalom Panam Sports is also performing this action in other sports modalities across the continent, Canoe Sprint will have a similar action between June 3 and 12, and the coach of the team will be the German Jochen Zühlke.