Buoyed by CAS ruling, ICF inks SUP hosting contract with Hungary
Balatonfured in Hungary has been rubber-stamped as the host of the International Canoe Federation's Stand Up Paddling World Championships in 2021
The event, from 18 to 20 June, will coincide with the popular 'Crossing Lake Balaton' festival, which this year drew thousands of entries, including more than 500 SUP athletes.
The ICF event debuted in October 2019 and was eventually held in Qingdao, China after the governing body was forced to scrap its initial plan to stage it in Portugal in 2018 after a court in the country ruled that the national surfing, and not the canoeing, body was responsible for the SUP discipline.
The ICF and the ISA, surfing's governing body, have disputed the ownership of SUP for the past four years, and in August the Court of Arbitration for Sport finally ruled on the matter, albeit both federations came away from Lausanne claiming victory.
CAS ruled that both federations can organise SUP events, but that only the ISA can govern the sport at Olympic level. Surfing will debut at the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year, and is also on the programme for Paris 2024, with Los Angeles 2028 deemed a formality for the sport.
Balatonfured was already earmarked for the 2021 World Championships before the CAS ruling, and the host city contract has now been finalised.Jose Perurena, president of the ICF, said: “Our focus has always been on doing what is best for the sport, and we are confident next year’s championships in Balatonfured will be just as special. Hungary is rightly considered one of the canoeing powerhouses of the world. The Hungarian Canoe Federation regularly host major international competitions, and it is that experience which they will bring to the 2021 SUP world championships.”
There will be world championships for sprint, distance and technical classes, and junior, open and masters’ categories.
The ICF also announced it will host an online SUP seminar for international technical officers later this year, as part of its global strategy to grow the discipline.
Perurena continued: “The decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport confirming the ICF’s right to host SUP events was warmly welcomed by stand up athletes around the world, and now they can look forward with excitement to another world championships of the highest calibre.
“The 2021 world championships in Balatonfured will be just one of several exciting events we have planned for next year. We already have several outstanding international candidates for our world championships in 2022 and 2023, which will cement the ICF’s standing as a true champion of stand up paddling.”
However, the Spaniard could not refuse the opportunity to take a dig at the surfing community, adding: “The ICF will continue to focus firmly on the athletes and the continued growth of SUP. We are aware others are actively campaigning to try and diminish our role, but as always, we ask the SUP community to not only judge us on our actions, but also to cast a critical eye over those who are trying to hold the sport back.”