ICF holds first Paracanoe Marathon training camp

The International Canoe Federation held its first training camp for Paracanoe Marathon padders as the two disciplines continue to work together for the development of the sport. 

A total of 12 French and Spanish athletes participated in the camp that ran from April 16 to 21 in Saint-Nicolas-de-la-Grave, France. 

The participants included K1, KL3, VL2 and VL3 paddlers and one deaf athlete. 

The camp has been made possible thanks to great support from the Tarn et Garonne Departement, 3 Rivières Pagaies Club, Royal Spanish Canoeing Federation and French Canoe Federation as well as the ICF Paracanoe Committee and ICF Canoe Marathon Committee. 

Jean-Christophe Gonneaud, a member of the ICF Paracanoe Committee, led the camp along with coaches Aura Tazon and Rodrigo Navarro from Spain and Desire Dauchez from France. 

“Marathon is different to sprint as it’s long distance and the strategy is not the same,” said Mr Gonneaud. 

“You are in separate lanes in sprint whereas in marathon you have got to deal with many boats coming together in the same place. 

“We also had to work on the strategy to get the boat around the buoys and the stroke technique.” 

The camp culminated with Paracanoe paddlers taking part in a national Canoe Marathon competition. 

Races were held over 7km for KL1 and 10.5km for all other categories. 

“It was a great programme as we had four days of preparation and two days of competition,” added Gonneaud. 

“I would like to duplicate this camp as it was fantastic to organise and there was great effort from France and Spain. 

“It’s very important that we work together to ensure we are open to new athletes.” 

Paracanoe races featured as demonstration events at the 2023 ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships in Vejen, Denmark. 

Both the ICF Paracanoe Committee and ICF Canoe Marathon Committee are working to establish a World Championships for Paracanoe Marathon. 

“I would like to thank everyone involved in the staging of the first Paracanoe Marathon training camp,” said Ruud Heijselaar, Chair of the ICF Canoe Marathon Committee. 

“It is great to see cooperation between the different authorities, clubs and federations to make this happen. 

“This Paracanoe Marathon training camp will hopefully be the first of many to come as the two disciplines continue to work closely together.” 

John Edwards, Chair of the ICF Paracanoe Committee, added: “I am overjoyed by the success of this training camp as we want to attract more Paracanoe paddlers to the long-distance races. 

“It’s really exciting to have this opportunity to develop Paracanoe Marathon as we aim to hold official Paracanoe events at the 2025 Canoe Marathon World Championships.”