More than 1,000 elite athletes and coaches from across the world are expected to make their way to Dartmouth, N.S., for the 2022 International Canoe Federation’s Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe World Championships starting next week on Lake Banook.
The five-day competition running from Aug. 3 to 7 will consist of men’s and women’s singles, doubles and quad boat races.
Sprint canoeist Katie Vincent, 26, who will represent Canada at the championships, is thrilled to compete in front of the crowd on the waters she trains in every day.
“We’re going to have to be able to manage ourselves and manage our focus and not get too caught up in the excitement of racing in such a big crowd,” she told Global News outside the popular canoe club.
Vincent was a bronze medallist at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
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She says she believes her ability to navigate the winds on the lake will be a strong advantage for her and her teammates.
“We train here every day so we know how to adapt to different winds and different conditions and nothing can surprise us ’cause Nova Scotia weather can surprise you at any moment, so I think we’re prepared for that,” says Vincent.
The CEO of Canoe Kayak Canada says the opportunity to promote the sport and encourage the next generation of paddlers is inspiring.
“It’s great for our athletes to demonstrate how good they are. We have such a great young team and it’s exciting for us. It builds a legacy at all levels and we couldn’t be more thrilled,” says Casey Wade.
Halifax Mayor Mike Savage made the journey to Tokyo, Japan in 2018 with a group to pitch the facility as a potential host.
“There was a lot of talk about the Indigenous history here and the Mi’kmaq and what they would have done on the lake but then also the history of hosting these types of events before. They know Halifax, maybe. They know Dartmouth, for sure. But they really know Lake Banook,” says Savage.
Canoe Kayak Canada has partnered with different organizations to facilitate and financially support Team Ukraine‘s travel, accommodations and participation in the event.
“It was really important for us to get them out of such a horrible situation so they can train and relax and be a part of the event. It’s really an outpouring of support from Canadians to the Ukrainian family,” says Wade.
Team Russia and Team Belarus have been suspended from all competition by the International Olympic Committee and International Canoe Federation.
Wade says he hates to see politics mixed with sport but calls the decision the “right thing to do.”
The last time the event was held at Lake Banook was Aug. 12 to 16, 2009.
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