Paddle Australia (PA) has made the difficult decision that, other than in exceptional circumstances, they will not be supporting touring teams to international competitions for the remainder of 2021.
In a detailed Position Statement released today, Paddle Australia explains that the decision has been made taking into account the general situation presented by COVID-19 globally and in Australia and the challenges and risks for athletes and teams involved in international travel. In particular, PA notes the strict ‘Do Not Travel’ advisory from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) on all overseas travel from Australia (with the exception of NZ).
PA will consider some exemptions, including Canoe Slalom and Canoe Sprint athletes attending the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games and any pre-Games competitions and/or training camps. Tours to New Zealand will also be considered, assuming the Trans-Tasman bubble remains in place.
‘We know that the athletes that have worked so hard this year, some in very challenging circumstances, will be very disappointed, as we are, that they won’t be travelling to international competitions for the rest of this year,’ said Phil Jones, CEO of Paddle Australia. ‘We hope that the athletes impacted will understand the reasons for the decision and that they will support it.’
‘We recognise that some of our Junior and Under 23 athletes are particularly impacted as they ‘age out’ and will not have another opportunity to compete in their age group.’
Given this decision, Paddle Australia will not be selecting teams to attend the various ICF competitions. Instead, squads will be named, based on the same criteria. There will be no right of appeal against non-inclusion in a squad.
‘Obviously, there is little point in selecting teams that are not able to travel to international competitions. However, we do want to recognise and reward the hard work done by our leading paddlers and their coaches, hence our naming of squads. Also, we know that being named part of a national squad is important, especially for younger athletes where it can provide access to school and sporting scholarships and can impact entry to college and university.’
Like everyone else, we hope that 2022 will we see us once again competing internationally across all disciplines of the sport.
Click to view – Position Statement – International Travel and Touring Teams