Update 1 – 16th March 2020 – Postponement of PA Championships and Other Information

COVID-19, Postponement of PA Championships and other information – UPDATE 1

Paddle Australia (PA) is keenly aware of the community concern and disruption relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. PA has been closely monitoring the best available advice from both our Federal and State Governments and the initiatives being taken to slow the spread of COVID-19 through the Australian community.

PA has also been liaising with the Sport Australia (SA), the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) and Paralympics Australia as well as other National Sports Organisations (NSOs) to ensure a coordinated approach to the current risks. We have also been closely monitoring the steps taken by the International Canoe Federation (ICF) in relation to their advice and the cancellation of several events.

Whilst our first priority is for the health of our athletes, coaches, staff, volunteers and members, Paddle Australia and our State Paddle Associations (SPAs) also take very seriously our broader obligations to all Australians, particularly at this time. Our decisions and advice have been taken, and will continue to be taken, with the interests of the paddling and the broader Australian community at the forefront of our mind.

Paddle Australia Canoe Marathon and Canoe Polo Championships

Paddle Australia has made the very difficult decision to postpone both the 2020 Paddle Australia Canoe Polo Championships, that was to take place over Easter, 11th to 13th April in Adelaide and the 2020 Paddle Australia Canoe Marathon Championships scheduled for Geelong, Victoria from 16th to 19th April.

“We appreciate that this will be a very disappointing decision for the paddlers that have been preparing and training to be their best at these events,” said PA CEO, Phil Jones. “Both events involve relatively large gatherings of people and interstate travel. Also, all advice is that the situation will worsen over the coming weeks. Accordingly, we believe that this decision at this time is in the best interests of all involved”.

PA and the relevant Discipline Technical Committees are now discussing the options for re-scheduling these events. If a suitable date cannot be identified, refunds will be made to the extent possible. The implications of this decision on selection for the World Championships planned for later in 2020 are also being considered. Further information will be provided in due course.

How we are dealing with COVID-19

PA is continuing to monitor the situation and will act on advice from medical experts, the Australian Government and sports organisations such as Sport Australia, the AIS and the AOC.

PA has set up a Working Group to evaluate advice and make decisions or make recommendations to the PA Board, on issues relating to COVID-19. Given the rapidly changing landscape, the group is currently meeting three times a week and more frequently if necessary.

A webpage has also been established to communicate key decisions and keep the paddling community as up to date as possible, providing links to relevant information. We will use social media to help ensure people are aware of key messages.

Next Steps

PA has already made several decisions that impact particular groups of athletes. These decisions have already been communicated to those involved. A summary will be provided with our next update.

We have received requests from Clubs for advice regarding limitations or changes to their activities and practices. We will finalise our recommendations over the next few days and ensure it is available on our website before the close of business on Thursday 19th March. If clubs have any specific concerns, these can be emailed to info@paddle.org.au

In the meantime, the following links provide helpful general information.

AIS COVID-19 and Sporting Activity
https://ais.gov.au/health-wellbeing/covid-19#covid-19_and_sport_faq

The Department of Health COVID – 19 health alerts
https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert

Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for public gatherings and visits to vulnerable groups
https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-public-gatherings-and-visits-to-vulnerable-groups