CEO Blog – June

With Tokyo 2020 just three years ago, Paris 2024 has come around quicker than usual and I find myself excited to already be writing my last CEO Blog before the Olympic action begins. Given that the writing of ‘my last CEO Blog before the Olympics’ normally only happens every four years (this time three years), I hope you will indulge me if I focus a little on what is the key event for our sport every four years. 

With less than a month to go until Paris 2024, June has seen several outstanding results and major announcements in the lead up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games. 

After months of hard work, Noemie Fox delivered a performance for the ages at ICF World Cup 2 in Prague to secure Australia an Olympic quota spot in the Kayak Cross and secure her place in the Australian Olympic Team in Paris. Noemie executed her game plan perfectly to win the silver medal. Paddle Australia extends its sincerest congratulations to Noemie who is set to join Jess, Tristan, and Tim in France next month for the Games.

The following weekend saw Jess Fox make history at the ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup 3 in Krakow, becoming the first paddler to ever win three gold medals in one World Cup weekend. Jess won the C1, K1 and Kayak Cross events to secure the golden weekend, also earning herself her 50th and 51st World Cup Gold medal in the process. 

Paddle Australia was also pleased to name the Canoe Polo team that will compete at the World Championships in China this October. We wish the team the best of luck with their preparations. 

Paddle Australia also extends its congratulations to Robert Janiszewski, Harry Langley and Nina Mueller who competed at the 2024 ICF Wildwater Canoeing World Cup 1 & 2 and 3 & 4 during the month of June. Our Australian paddlers did us proud on the international stage with several world-class performances and will now prepare for the Wildwater World Championships taking place later this year.

June also saw Paddle Australia present the National Events Calendar for the 2024/25 paddling season. The Australian Ocean Racing Championships will kick start the jam-packed season before numerous domestic and international events follow over the summer months. Paddle Australia is pleased to deliver this calendar and looks forward to seeing our Australian paddling community come together and participate over the next 12 months.

The busy month was capped off with the appointment of Brendan Purcell to the role of National Performance Director, to commence following the Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games. We look forward to welcoming Brandan – who has been working recently in the Paddle UK program – back to his home country and to Paddle Australia’s ranks.

To close, I will return to the topic of Paris 2024. The three years since Tokyo 2020 have seen a great deal of positive change in our high performance program. We are sending a cohesive and very well-prepared team to Paris. Our athletes are an inspiration, both as paddlers and people, and can be confident they will make Australia and our sport proud, both on and off the water. They go to Paris with the blessing and best wishes of the entire paddling community.

I am equally proud of the people that support our athletes with such commitment and dedication. From the many volunteers that contribute to clubs where athletes start their journey, to the family and friends that commit so much, to those officials that ensure the events run smoothly, to the coaches and support staff in our daily training environments. Our athletes are the first to recognise the importance of everyone that has played a part in their journey, and I thank them too. 

So, whilst we are watching and cheering loudly as our wonderful paddlers make the scenes that will live long in our memories, let’s acknowledge all those behind the scenes that have contributed so much to getting them there.

Phil Jones

Paddle Australia CEO

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