Paddle Australia strengthens High Performance Leadership Team

Paddle Australia (PA) has strengthened its leadership team with the appointments of Kim Crane as the National Performance Director and David Foureur as the new General Manager Performance – Canoe Sprint & Paracanoe.

Following a highly successful Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, along with the announcement of Brisbane as the host city of the 2032 Games, PA is excited to welcome Kim and David to their new roles in the high performance team as the sport embarks on a new, ambitious and exciting high performance and pathway strategy.

Kim is a highly respected transformational leader within the Australian high performance sport system with 30 years experience in both sport and business. Kim brings a significant level of experience to Paddle Australia having held leadership and management roles in the National Institute Network including Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) and Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) as well as serving as the National High Performance Director of Surfing Australia. Her extensive industry experience will make her invaluable in leading Paddle Australia’s exciting, new high performance and pathway strategy.

David will transition into the new role of General Manager from his current position as the PA National Pathway Lead – Canoe Sprint, having previously served as PA’s National Women’s Head Coach and PA National Elite Development Manager as well as Head Coach, Canoe Sprint for SASI.

Paddle Australia CEO, Phil Jones, said he is pleased to welcome experienced professionals to the roles and excited about the opportunities this will present for the sport moving forward.

“I am thrilled to have Kim Crane and David Foureur join our leadership team as part of our new high performance structure, as we embark on an exciting new chapter for our high performance program.

“With such a short runway leading into the Paris Olympic & Paralympic Games as well as the opportunities presented through Australia hosting the ICF Slalom World Championships in 2025 and the Brisbane Olympic & Paralympic Games in 2032, we are thrilled to have two experienced hands helping guide the sport.

“Kim will lead the high performance department, joining us with decades of experience working with national sporting organisations as well as with State and National Institute programs.  Her background as an elite athlete and breadth of roles within the sporting system will add so much value to the Paddle Australia community.

“David’s experience and knowledge of paddling is second to none and we are very pleased to see him transition from the national pathways role to heading up the Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe programs. His in-depth understanding of the sport and its needs, combined with his strong relationships with our athletes and coaches, will ensure he is able to hit the ground running.

“These two key roles are among several key appointments we are excited to be making, with additional announcements to be made in the coming weeks. I would like to thank the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) for their support across our whole high performance recruitment process,’ he said.

Incoming High Performance Director Kim Crane said: “I’m thrilled and honoured to take up this leadership role within an organisation I’ve admired and been close to for a long time. This is an exciting opportunity to lead a program which carries high expectations leading into Paris 2024, based on previous success where both the results and quality of athletes as people, have inspired all Australians.

“Paddle is not a new sport for me. I’ve worked closely with the team before in my previous roles with the National Institute Network. I also have a deep family connection with the sport in both sprint and surf life saving (ski paddling), plus have had my own amazing experiences in outrigger canoe racing. I understand what makes the people who work in the sport, get out of bed in the morning, and I align closely with that both personally in my own life and professionally as a leader.

“Listening to athletes, coaches, staff and the paddling community will be my first task. This being a compressed Olympic/Paralympic Cycle, we need to move quickly to create meaning for people with the strategy, and establish by co-design an idea of what success looks like for us culturally as a whole ‘high performance program’ group. I’m excited to work with everyone in the sprint, slalom and paracanoe programs, as I have so much respect for the rich history of Olympic, Paralympic and World Championship success in the sport.

“I’ve been privileged to work with the Queensland Government and Queensland Academy of Sport this year, witnessing already how the successful bid for the Brisbane 2032 Games is a game changer for sport and business in Australia and Queensland. There’s an exciting drive and aspiration in our industry, as hearts and minds of Government, sport leaders, coaches, practitioners, business, community, and young athletes, connect with the vision of what’s possible. There’s a decade of opportunity leading into 2032, and I know in the plans for a new Redlands Whitewater Centre for Slalom there’s opportunity to expand our thinking with initiatives in pathway, event and partnership strategy overlays,” she said.

Incoming General Manager Performance – Canoe Sprint & Paracanoe said:  “I feel privileged to be offered this position and believe I can bring knowledge, leadership and support which will ultimately unite our Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe athletes, coaches and staff as we face a challenging period over the next three years. I am passionate about uniting our group, engaging everyone and creating the One Team approach, which will ultimately lead to success in Paris 2024.

“A key focus will be to ensure the National Centre of Excellence (NCE) on the Gold Coast is effectively implemented and operating smoothly. This is a critical piece as we head towards the Paris 2024 Olympics & Paralympics and in particular qualification events in 2023 as this is a very short cycle and we must be well prepared.

“Having our Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe HP Squads primarily based in Queensland at the NCE, we have the ability to start planning and implementing those plans well in advance. We are in the prime location and have amazing facilities and waterways at Pizzey Park, Mermaid Waters on the Gold Coast. We are well established which puts us ahead of the game building into Brisbane 2032,” he said.

David will commence his role as General Manager as of today, with Kim set to join Paddle Australia from 6th December 2021.

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