— Published 17 January 2023

The challenge of the Pan American Games

Will the future of canoeing be played out on the American continent? The world body for the discipline (ICF) believes so. Its president, Thomas Konietzko, its vice-president, Cecilia Farias, and its secretary general, Richard Pettit, travelled to Puerto Rico in a delegation to meet Victor Ruiz, the president of the Pan-American Canoe-Kayak Federation (COPAC). On the agenda was the future of canoeing and kayaking in the region, particularly at the Pan American Games. For the first time, Olympic quotas for the Los Angeles 2028 Games will be distributed at the 2027 Pan American Games in Colombia for sprint, slalom and kayak cross. Also discussed during the meeting in Puerto Rico was the appointment by the ICF of a manager based in the Americas to be responsible for development, coach education and the establishment of sustainable structures for national federations. At the Tokyo 2020 Games, the countries of the Pan American zone achieved historic performances, with four of them leaving Japan with at least one medal (Brazil, Cuba and the USA in gold, Canada in silver and bronze).