ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships
Photograph:Balint Vekassy (ICF)
Following their recent Board meeting, the International Canoe Federation has announced that they will propose the inclusion of women's canoe slalom and women's canoe sprint 200m for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Australian Canoeing's High Performance director Richard Fox commented on the announcement.
"It is positive to see a clear ICF position on the inclusion of more events for women in the Olympic Games.
"In contrast, high level female athletes continue to be significantly restricted in their access to canoeing events in the Olympics Games relative to men and will have to wait another seven years to see any change."
Australian Canoeing CEO Gregory Doyle agrees that it would be better not to wait.
“AC is committed to gender diversity both on and off the water….the recent ICF decision to wait seven years for the Olympic inclusion of C1 Women Canoe Slalom and C1 Women 200m Canoe Sprint and eleven years to guarantee complete gender equity across both Olympic disciplines (Sprint & Slalom) is simply too little and too late.”
Fox also pointed out the tenuous position the current situation leaves canoeing in relative to other sports.
“The exclusion of women from all canoe class events across both sprint and slalom disciplines at the Olympic Games is a remarkable situation for the ICF to maintain until Tokyo when other sports are clearly shining under the light of increased gender diversity."
Various media outlets have picked up on the reaction of 2012 Olympic K1 silver medallist and 2013 C1 World Champion Jessica Fox. The ICF release showed a picture of her celebrating a race victory in her K1 and stated that she would 'certainly be pleased' with the news.
Fox replied "in fact, I am not celebrating with my arms outstretched as the picture shows - to be honest it's a slap in the face and misleading.”
The release is no longer available on the ICF webpage, but details can still be found in the following articles: