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Despite the challenging situation due to Covid-19 restriction, after two years without WRF worldwide competitions we finally arrived at the day before the World Rafting and ParaRafting Championship 2021.
For the first time in history athletes and para athletes will compete in the same rapids, at the whitewater stadium in L’Argentière-la-Bessée, France.
Rafters and Para Rafters will paddle in the same rapids
The stade d’eau vive Michel Baudry was inaugurated in 1993 and is 400m long, with a difference in altitude of 4m.
The French Alps of the Pays des Écrins will host more than 200 athletes this week in the alpine river Durance, from 29 countries. A few teams are still on the road, or on the plane, but everything is settled for a week of race.
Stade d'eau vive Michelle Baudry
Before the World Championships begin We would like to take the opportunity to thank our athletes for being here: the Covid-19 pandemic forced all of us to take important choices and everyone who will paddle and take part in this competition made many sacrifices in order to be here. The hard work that everyone faced over the last months, and usually goes unnoticed during the period of preparation, will be expressed now.
This week is a chance for the athletes to show that they deserve to be here, especially to themselves, and enjoy what they deserved. They trained and they decided to travel, although the uncertainty times and now they have the opportunity not only to race, but to meet and share a new adventure with people from all around the world who have their same passion.
Sport is not only about chronometers, it unites us, and we are honoured and proud to welcome you all, finally together. The athletes are arriving and tomorrow is the beginning of a new adventure.
“We would like to help and show everyone there how to bring themselves out of the shell” with these words Andrea Gatti, the technical director of the Albanian Rafting Federation, explained his experience with the rafting movement in Albania: it is growing, thanks to the cooperation between different clubs and the training project that he is leading. 15 new guides have been formed during the last months by the President of the National Federation of Albania Zamo Spathara in collaboration with Andra Gatti, Daniele Corsi and Fabio Corsi from Italy, sharing their river experiences on the other side of the Adriatic Sea.
The Minister of Tourism and Environment of Albania Mr Blendi Klosi celebrated the new guides at the ceremony at the end of the course and immediately went paddling with them, young athletes from 6 different cities, in the Osum Canyon, formed by the river Osum that passes through the town of Berat and flows though the canyon, creating a gorge that is one of the most spectacular natural attains of the country.
During the training course two teams of guides have been selected for the participation in the upcoming World Rafting Championship, that represent a meeting point for river people from all around the world and it is not only about medals: sharing moments, creating memories and discovering new viewpoints is something that makes all of us grow. “It will be a great and useful experience for the delegation from Albania: to travel and meet new people from other countries is an opportunity to continue and improve the development of the discipline” Andrea Gatti added.
The delegation of two teams who will compete in the men category is composed by Ali Spathara, Claudio Hasanllari, Behar Zeqo, Alvaro Nallbani, Geri Saphatra, Klidi Dobroniku, Franci Koroni, Endri Hoxha, Xhuljan Ziu.
Mr Zamo Spathara declared “Once you touch the river you do not fear the storm in the city anymore. Rafting is sport, tourism and adventure. It unites us and make us stronger.”
Albania is back, competing in France after its last experience at the World Rafting Championship in Italy 2018.
Two weeks to go, see you in France rafters!
A new country, that no one has ever seen in a rafting competition, will take part in the World Rafting Championship 2021: Malta.
Brought together as a group at a young age, the four Maltese athletes are ex gymnasts and passionate practitioners of parkour living and training in Malta. During the years of dedication to gymnastic they have been exposed to several competitions both national and international, and also choreographing performances. Apart from Gymnastics and parkour they also practice free running, cliff jumping and Obstacle Course Racing.
They have been working and performing together since 2012 in the MalteseMotion project.
“It has been an exciting journey, discovering who we are as individuals and as a team.” Explained Isaac Camilleri Liberto, the athlete who introduced the team and their experience to WRF, that is proud of becoming a new part of it, meeting a new viewpoint and working to develop rafting in a new country.
“We are 4 athletes: me, my brother Noah Camilleri and my friends Clyve Fenech and Simon Gravino. We are a group of friends with the same goal, that is to surpass our limits.
We are always excited to face new challenges and adventures. I think that rafting is an energetic and dynamic sport with all the subtle blend of peculiar daredevil skills, presence of mind and physical precision: rafting has what we are always looking for.
The participation in the World Championships means so much to all of us. It validates our love for new opportunities and gives us the chance to meet people similar to us from all over the world.”
Hundreds of rafters from all over the globe will paddle with them in France in less than a month and the event is going to be unique, for all of them.
From 18th to 20th June Zubin Potok hosted the European Rafting Cup 2021 in in the Mitrovica District in Kosovo.
20 teams participated in the event and paddled on Ibar river, that flows from Gazivoda Lake.
The first place in the three disciplines, RX, Slalom and Downriver, gave the overall gold to Italy 1 in the men category: Luca Liuzzo, Giacomo Schettino, Matteo Lancillotto e Alberto Longo. A third place in the slalom and two silvers in RX and Downriver guaranteed 262 points to Italy 2, that got the second place: Andrey Orsingher, Emanuele Boiano, Tommaso Patriarca and Luca Gianoli. Third step of the podium for NSK Liman from Belgrade who scored 248 points.
In the female category Italy 1 got a first place in Downriver and Slalom, that with a second place in the Final A got the overall gold: Giulia Liuzzo, Vittoria Sperandini, Rubina Boscia ed Emma Ichino with 288 points.
The RX winners got the silver overall: Italy 2 represented by Federica Triangeli, Natalia Lehmann, Alessia Tiberi e Marika Branchini.
Third step of the podium for RK Advance team, third in every discipline.
The attention now goes to the upcoming World Rafting Championship: eyes on France!
Another race weekend just ended with the second and last stage of the Italian National selection. The third level Avisio river in Trentino, Val di Fiemme, confirmed the athletes who will compete in France under the flag of Italy.
The points of 3 disciplines have been added to the results of the previous two on Sesia river a month ago.
The sprint phase opened the weekend and saw Rafting Aventure Villeneuve getting the gold in the women category, stopping the clock on 1:25,82. Second place for Adda Viva Indomita Valtellina River with 1:34,15 and third place for Sesia Rafting-DRD4.
Sesia Rafting posted the best time of 1:09,28, winning the men sprint, 7 seconds ahead of Tigerle-ASV Sterzing (1:16,21) and Rafting Team Verona (1:16,72) who did battle for the silver medal within just a few hundreds of a second.
The sprint decided the RX matching. In the women category RX confirmed the Sprint results (gold for Rafting Aventure Villeneuve), while the men category saw a battle to change the ranking. Rafting Team Verona won the final A against the silver Valbrenta team, the final B gave a bronze to Tigerle - ASV Sterzing.
Downriver determined the predicted National teams who will participate in the World Championship 2021 reguarding the women and men categories.
Gold in the women downriver for Rafting Aventure Villeneuve with 19:02.85, 4 seconds and 25 cents ahead of Sesia Rafting-DRD4. Third place for Adda Viva Indomita Valtellina River with 19:24.45. The best time of 17:28.94 has the name of the Rafting Team Verona, with almost 20 seconds of advantage on the second team: Sesia Rafting, 17:48.29. Third place for Valbrenta team who moved up the rankings with 18:02.17.
Finally, these are the names of the athletes who are training in the Italian Alps and will compete in the French valleys in three weeks.
The first two women teams: Rafting Aventure Villeneuve (Letizia Lauri, Elodie Lumignon, Gaia Mascarello, Carlotta Scalvino) and Sesia Rafting-DRD4 (Martina Bonomi, Christa Gruber, Francesca Leonardi, Miriam Waldboth).
The first two men teams: Rafting Team Verona (Pietro Fratton, Fabio Martini, Zeno Martini, Lorenzo Mastella).
The third steps of the selections’ podiums decided the two mix teams: Sara Amonini, Valentina Volo, Mattia Felini and Nicholas Gheno formed a new team, as well as the other mix team of Francesca Fontanive, Silvia Venturini, Riccardo Colombo and Michele Songini.
Last but definitely not least, the two Para-Rafting teams who will face the rapids of Durance for the first time in a World Para-Rafting Championship.
Marco Montagna and Riccardo Novella (M&N Movimento e Natura) will padre with the athletes of Asd Pescantina Carlo Benciolini and Nicola Speri. Para-athletes Massimo Giandinoto and Rosario Sperandini (M&N) will paddle with Rinaldo Veneroni (Adda Viva Indomita) e Damiano Casazza (ASV Sterzing) as Italy 2.
8 teams, 33 athletes: Italy started the countdown, 20 days to go!
Alto Piquiri whitewater hosted the 2021 National Rafting Championship of Brazil, R4, from 21st to 23rd May, and the first two man teams locked away their tickets to L’Argentière-la-Bessée.
The overall podium confirmed the medals of the three disciplines: downriver, slalom and RX.
Rio Abaixo team, 3rd place, on the upper Piquiri river
Rio Abaixo got the bronze: Alex Canilha, Marcelo Ferreira, Jairo Mariano, Fernando Mori and William Thomaz, competing as a master team, always succeeded in conquering the third step of the podium, leaving the final to the powerful Volans crew.
While Kaimanas was the only women team, with young under 23 athletes, all the men teams paddled with the eyes on the first two steps of the podium, bearing in mind that a silver would ensure the national spot at the upcoming World Championship.
Volans Rating team, 2nd place
The athletes who will carry the Brazilian flag in France are Gabriel Amichetti, Koiti Kuramoto, Jhonatan Machado and Fernando Schamne Simões, who managed to take the second place as Volans Rafting, and the winners of every discipline in the Upper Piquiri river: Pedro Aversa, William Ferraz, Chicão Thiago Diniz and Ze Pegro, as Volans.
Volans team, 2021 National Champions of Brazil
The Delegation of Volans Rafting teams, from the Brazilian State of São Paulo (Piracicaba, Brotas and Juquitiba municipalities) is all set to paddle in France in one month from now.
Another race weekend in Turkey just ended and crowned the winners with the title of National Champions 2021 and the participation to the World Rafting Championship.
With the support of the Ministry of Youth and Sport and the great commitment of the President Fikret Yardimci, the competition was organised by the Turkish Rafting Federation in Rize, Ardeşen, in the eastern part of the Black Sea Region of Turkey, from 9th to 13th June.
8 women, 15 men and 11 mix teams participated, with a great support from the local public who kept the eyes on the third level venue.
In the man category DİDİ S.K. from the host city triumphed in every discipline: the reunion of young athletes, after four years out of competition, proved the experience of the team, that scored 300 points: Okan Gunak, Devrim Tarik Gürsoy, Onur Memoglu and Dogus Oncirak, trained by Mr Yasin Makar.
Antalya Manavgat G.S.K with 258 points got a fourth place in the Downriver and two silver medals in Slalom and RX. Bronze to Çatak Belediyesi G.S.K A with 243 points.
Rize G. S. K. women team got the second place in the Slalom, but a gold in the other disciplines (RX and Downriver) assured them the first step of the podium with 290 points: Betül Karci, Gamze Aksoy Aydin, Dursiye Gedikoglu, Sudenaz Reyhan and Öznur Fil.
Second place in the women category for Tunceli G.S.K (248 points) and third place for Rize Belediyesi (243 points).
Last but definitely not least, also the National Champions in the mix category are from DİDİ S.K. club: Okan Gunak, Devrim Tarik Gursoy, Buket Maden and Selenay Makar.
Silver medal for Rize Belediyesi and bronze for Antalya Manavgat G. S. K.
The three winner teams got the tickets to France and will carry the flag as Turkey 1, but another team per each category has been selected by the National Rafting Federation commissions and will be part of the Turkish delegation in twelve days. They will land in Milan on 28th June and will directly go to L’Argentière-la-Bessée.
6 teams from Turkey, we wait for you!
EU Green Week just ended and WRF is happy to announce another step forward for the contribute that our movement is committed to giving to the protection of the global environment.
On 3rd June Surfrider Foundation Europe organised an online conference bringing together representatives of water sports federations, athletes, researchers, environmental NGOs and local institutions from across Europe. "All on board for healthy waters” reflected on what should be done to ensure healthy waters in Europe and make sure the rules we have in place to safeguard public health and clean bathing waters are up to date and meet the objective to preserve, protect and improve the quality of the environment and to protect human health.
For 30 years, Surfrider Foundation Europe has been protecting, safeguarding and enhancing the oceans and the entire population that benefits from them. It acts on a daily basis to fight against damage of the water environment and its users, working with every level of society from citizens, to businesses and public institutions and governments on 3 main issues: water quality and health, marine litter, coastal adaptation and climate change.
Last week’s meeting gave the floor to diverse stakeholders with either first hand experience of bad water quality or ideas for improving the EU legislation.
WRF President Danilo Barmaz presented the World Rafting Federation giving evidence of the importance of safeguarding fresh water. Despite almost 97% of water on earth consists of salt water and less than 1% is available fresh water, rivers represent the veins of our planet. We paddle in these veins, we live in them and the closer we get to the water, the more we become aware of how precious this resource is. We all should stop and think about it, but never think to stop. 48 million people in Europe are believed to be involved in water sports and as a community included in this number there is a lot that we can do.
All the water on this planet is connected, from the bottom of the oceans to the top of the mountains, the whitewater we paddle in is a peculiar part of the whole cycle. From large industries to the single citizen, irresponsible human activities contribute to altering and polluting the natural water cycle and reducing its resilience. We need to raise people awareness on this fundamental issues that affects everyone, not only people who live or work in close contact with water and nature, but the whole world population. We need to think together about solutions to ensure healthy waters, in order to best protect human and water health, that are strictly connected to each other.
For the first time Surfrider Foundation gave voice to rafting as a healthy and educational activity: both through competitions and commercial activities the sport catches the eye of people who are not used to see water as a force of nature, but benefits from it every day. Rafting, as an accessible introduction for anyone into the world of water sports, can change their perspective and show them the veins of this planet and how human activities threaten water worldwide.
This online event will also be the occasion for Surfrider Foundation Europe to deliver the European Manifesto for #HealthyWaters to the European Commission, which has received the support from more than 60 organisations across Europe.
“This manifesto advocates for:Extending of water quality monitoring to recreational and water sports areas Monitoring water quality throughout the year Adding new parameters in the monitoring of water quality and in the criteria for the classification of sites: the presence of marine litter, harmful algal blooms and cyanobacteria, and chemical pollutants Obligations for the Member States regarding identifying, assessing and preventing pollution Standardised, more accessible and better relayed public information on water quality, as well as strengthened and encouraged public participation Aligning all policies with an impact on water and the protection of the marine environment. This event has been labelled 'EU Green Week 2021 Partner Event' and has received funding from the LIFE Programme of the European Union.”
The aim is to warn the public and European politicians of the need for quick action in order to enjoy healthier recreational waters. By bringing together all of its claims and recommendations in this text, it is calling for the adoption of effective measures to improve monitoring of these areas, whether they be oceans, lakes or rivers.
At the last WRF World Rafting Championship in Tunceli (Turkey) Brazil got the over all gold, placing first in the downriver and the slalom.
We talked with one of its member about his river experience and the current worldwide situation.
Thiago, when was your first rafting experience? What other sports do you practice?
I practice slalom kayaking, extreme kayaking and mountain bike.
My city is divided by the homonymous river Piracicaba that hosted the Brazilian Rafting Championship in 2003.
I used to paddle there with a close-knit team of slalom kayaking, so we decided to venture out, train as a team and we finally participated in the National Champs. Rafting is a great part of my life since then.
Rafting is the only team sport you practice. What did you learn from paddling together? And from rafting in general?
The main reason for me to paddle in rafting is the team: you learn how to deal with people, physically and mentally; rafting reminds me that we cannot achieve anything in life alone. I gave a talk at a company about rafting and I realised how much you can apply the river principles on the ground, out of the river in the daily life. If we work together we can’t have different goals: the objective has to be common so the team can evolve. The river makes you feel part of something and when you paddle together this feeling is complete.
I learned to respect nature, thanks to the river. It is a part of my life and at the same time I am a part of nature: you can’t play with it, but in it. And while you are enjoying nature you understand how important is to preserve and protect it.
WRF World Rafting Championship in Turkey, June 2019
How did Covid-19 change your life? What is the goal for you now?
Covid-19 certainly changed the whole world. I personally learnt to take care of my self more often, considering both the body and the mind. I have a bicycle store and my business increased a lot since the sport is exponentially growing every day: people are more aware of what they can do now.
A concrete dream that the whole rafting community should think about is “Rafting at the Olympics”: I may be biased but our sport has much to give and offers so many opportunities and examples that are worthy of the Olympic recognition.
Personally, my biggest goal in 2021 is to win in France and reconfirm the title of World Champion with my teammates William Ferraz, Antônio José, Martins Salvati, Samuel Barbosa de Almeida and Fernando Tarcíso schamne Simões. We are training everyday with our coach Marcelo Ferreira and we are looking forward to compete there. See you in France!