Canoe slalom racers train on Paris 2024 Olympic course after final ICF checks. (c) ICF

Canoe slalom paddlers from 22 nations have started training in Vaires-sur-Marne after the International Canoe Federation (ICF) completed its final inspection of the course to be used at the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Pre-Games training is underway on the Olympic course at Vaires-sur-Marne with athletes taking to the water from 20-26 May. Australia, Czechia, Germany, Japan and Senegal are among the nations with athletes trying out the venue this week.

ICF Canoe Slalom Committee Chair Jean-Michel Prono said, "The feedback we have had from the athletes so far has been really positive. The grandstand has already been established and its presence is absolutely massive, so this is a good opportunity for the athletes to get used to these Olympic surroundings."

From 15-18 May, experts from the ICF completed their fine tuning of the course to be used for the Olympics. Meetings were also held with Paris 2024 Canoe Sport Manager Cyril Nivel and other officials from the Organising Committee and the Vaires-sur-Marne whitewater stadium.

ICF inspectors carried out final checks of the canoe slalom Olympic venue. (c) ICF
ICF inspectors carried out final checks of the canoe slalom Olympic venue. (c) ICF

Prono revealed, "We were working from 8.30am to 7pm every day to carry out all our final checks on the course.  Our main objective was to improve the first big drop right after the start which was successful.

“We also checked for any safety issues, so it is now all set for the Games. The course is well balanced and looks fantastic, so I am really looking forward to seeing competition take place on it during the Olympics."

Last week, the ICF also conducted its final technical inspection of the Olympic canoe sprint course which is also in Vaires-sur-Marne. ICF Canoe Sprint Committee Chair Toshi Furuya inspected the venue and discussed daily plans and preparations with the Paris 2024 team.

Canoe sprint action takes place from 6-10 August, after canoe slalom - which includes the first Olympic kayak cross competition - from 27 July-5 August with Furuya approving the transition process between the two disciplines.

"Our venue inspection and discussions with Paris 2024 were very fruitful," said Furuya. "The preparations towards the Games are going very well – it’s on track. A lot of important things such as facilities, technologies, sports presentation and services to the teams were discussed."

View from the start at the Paris 2024 canoe sprint course. (c) ICF
View from the start at the Paris 2024 canoe sprint course. (c) ICF

With spectators not permitted at the Tokyo 2020 Games due to pandemic restrictions, the Japanese is very much looking forward to welcoming the public back to Olympic canoe sprint competition.

He added, "Paris 2024 are doing a great job with the ICF to welcome teams. It will be outstanding to have such huge numbers of spectators. We will have more than 20,000 there.  We also had good discussions about generating our sports presentation. I am sure the sports presentation in Paris will make our spectators and the people watching on TV more excited and have more fun."