The Executive Committee of COPAC met on March 18, 2020 and considered the comuniques from the International Olympic Committee and the International Canoe Federation. This discussion also involved the Americas ICF continental delegates and the Chair of the COPAC Canoe Sprint Committee. As a result it was determined that it would not be possible to hold the Americas Continental Olympic Qualification Regatta safely and equitably, even with a postponement until June 2020. As a result, the regatta scheduled for 7-10 May 2020 in Curitiba, Brasil is cancelled.
The 2020 Panamerican Canoe Sprint Championship will be postponed until the last week in September 2020, probably in Brasilia, Brasil. This will include U18 events and U20 events, as well as Open Panamerican Championships. The U20 events will be in Olympic K1/C1 and K2/C2 events only and will be the qualifying events for the inaugural Panam Junior Games in Cali, Colombia inThe age limit for the 2021 Panam Junior Games is U21, so qualification the year before has to be U20.
In light of the cancellation of the Continental Qualification regattas world wide, the Executive Committee of COPAC then had to make a recommendation to the ICF whether our preference was to use the results of 2019 World Canoe Sprint Championships or the results of the 2019 Panamerican Games as the results upon which the ICF would determine the continental qualification quotas according to the Olympic continental qualification criteria. There was vigorous debate and valid arguments in favor of using either set of results.
The Executive Committee decided by a majority to recommend to the ICF that the results of the 2019 Canoe Sprint World Championships should be the results used to determine the allocation of continental qualification quotas. Two factors ultimately determined this decision. The 2019 World Canoe Sprint Championships is an integral part of the Olympic qualification system, whereas the 2019 Panam Games is not. The ICF also indicated that the IOC would not accept different qualification systems for each continent and Europe and Asia have expressed their preference for the results of the 2019 World Canoe Sprint Championships.
This was a difficult decision to make. The Executive Committee of COPAC understands that there will be disappointed national federations and athletes. However these are extraordinary and unprecedented times in which the COPAC Executive Committee is endeavouring to make the best and fairest decisions in the interests of the safety all participants in canoe sport.
In the Continental Qualification for Tókio 2020, the Canoe Slalom will be carried out in accordance with its regulations, that is, according to the ICF ranking.