FFCK and WRF open the new center of excellence in L'Argentière-la-Bessée

The agonistic field of Rafting has never been a reality in France, despite several athletes from the French slalom and whitewater canoe have been paddling and winning worldwide competitions for years and thousands of tourists a season run the French rivers in rafts.
Since the WRF foundation the FFCK started looking at this paddle sport from another perspective and after a few meetings between the WRF and FFCK delegations on 15th February 2019 the WRF President Danilo Barmaz, Mr. Jean Zoungrana (FFCK President), Mr. Bruno Carlier (Presidént du Comité Régional Canoe Kayak), Mr. Marie Patrick Vigne (mayor of L'Argentière-la-Bessée), Mr. Drujon D'Astro (Président ComCom Cyrille), the Député Mr. JoEl Giraud and Mr Jean Conreaux celebrated the inauguration of the WRF Centre of Excellence in L'Argentière-la-Bessée in presence of Mr. Didier Lafay (Directeur du Centre de Formation Canoë Kayak region PACA).

As Mr. Zoungrana declared the FFCK gladly recognizes WRF as the solid world governing body of sport Rafting for the developement of every aspect of it.
The President declared the French Federation proud about this recognition, considering it a trusting investment based on the high level of the history of French "eau vive".

The competent authority at local level are excited about this new challenge, that is both an end and start point. Indeed the construction of the present centre's buildings started after the demolition of the Péchiney aluminium factory in 1989, when Jean Giraud (who was the current mayor) and local authorities, including Patrick Vigne and Michel Baudry, saw in "la fin d'un époque" a new opportunity for the population.

30 years later the centre provides a number of facilities that people from the whole region join, including office and studios, a weight room, an indoor swimming pool, a cinema, a library and rooms for canoes and kayaks that now will share the Durance river (100 m far from the centre) with competitive rafts.

The first competition will be in 3 months, on 19th May, the first National Champs of Rafting in France that will become the 12th agonistic discipline under the umbrella of the FFCK and Bruno Carlier guarantees that it will be an excellent start point, bearing in mind that the collaboration with WRF will spread the idea of Rafting in the clubs not only as a play activity, but as a sport in all respects. As the other authorities said Carlier affirms that in this centre the WRF Training Programme of guides and coaches will be soon put into practice and the technicians will be finally recognized in every nation WRF member.

Jean-Louis Orly (C2 canoeist, World Champion at Bourg St. Maurice in 1969 and Olympic medalist at Munich 1972) and Michel Baudry (worldwide athlete and coach; since 2017 the Stadium d'eau vive in L'Argentière-la-Bessée is named after him) were present and wish good luck to the first rafters who will compete and represent France for the first time at the World Rafting Championship, in June.

L'Argentière-La Bessée and FFCK ready to host the French Open

On 12th May 2019 France will hold the first National Championship of Rafting: L'Argentière-La Bessée will host professional athletes and beginner rafters (who will be guided by a stag trainer) who will compete in the middle of the Alps in the southeastern France for the first time in the history of French Rafting, in order to win the National title and to represent their country in the international competitions of WRF.

Associated with the sports event "A popular Trail" organized the day before May 11, the event organized on the River Durance by Fédération Francaise de Canoe Kayak (FFCK) will allow future participants to live a beautiful sports weekend in a dream mountain scenery, taking part to the historical moment of the Rafting World and of every National Federation and athlete who accepted the challenge to grow with it.

Registration: https://www.genialp.com/inscription/1er-championnat-de-France-open-de-rafting 

The first General Assembly

On Friday, January 26 , 2018, representatives from 15 different countries (3 continent)  reunited in Belgrade, Serbia, to sign the official act that created the new world governing body for sport rafting, the World Rafting Federation (WRF).

In presence of Mr. Ivo Ferriani, IOC member and President of the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF), the new WRF board was approved by the present members: Mr. Danilo Barmaz (Italy) was unanimously chosen as President of the newly born federation. Mr. Barmaz declared that “The creation of a new world federation was the natural outcome of the feelings and intentions that most of the rafting community was manifesting. The path toward a real international recognition is now paved in front of us: we just need to walk it”.

The WRF congress will continue on Saturday, January 27, with the first meeting of the new board of directors and the beginning of the work of the commissions, with the main goal of defining the sport calendar for the upcoming season.


The Creation of the WRF

The creation of a new federation that binds all rafting nations together for the same cause just happenned this Friday 26th and Saturday 27th of January in Belgrade, Serbia.

The first World Rafting Federation (WRF) congress is taking place here and reunites more than 15 countries from all around the world. Thanks to the creation of this new federation sport rafting enters a new dimension and paves the way to a future Olympic dream. With the support of Mr. Ivo Ferrani (member of International Olympic Committee) the WRF became official through an official act signed in front of a public notary.

This congress brings a new future for whitewater sports and new opportunities for all the members of the rafting family who want to join.
During the first congress day also the WRF members unanimously voted Mr. Danilo Barmaz as their new president and the team forming the first WRF board (see below) The first tasks of the new federation will be to agree on the competition calendar for the upcoming season and to form the commissions that will represent the beating heart of WRF.

Race schedule for upcoming sport events. President Barmaz stressed the importance of being surrounded by professional and competent people that will assure a great future for sport rafting.

“The river is long and full of waves coming up and down, but the vision, as the boat on it, is the thing we need to hold on to”,
Barmaz affirmed as a conclusion to his first speech as WRF President.


Albania Costa Rica Brazil Chile Italy Croatia Serbia Montenegro Macedonia Bulgaria Turkey Russia Armenia Ukraine Iran


President - Danilo Barmaz (Italy) First Vice-President – Boris Purjakov (Serbia) Second Vice-President – Fikret Yardimci (Turkey) Treasurer – Blerina Ago (Albania) Responsible for Sport Departement – Oleg Grigoriev (Russia) Representative elected by the Athletes Commission – Massimo Desiati (Brazil) Representative elected by the Technicians commission – Hadi Ghazi (Iran)


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