ICF President Thomas Konietzko has promised a clearer pathway to leadership roles for women ©Getty Images

International Canoe Federation (ICF) President Thomas Konietzko has said that the best is yet to come for the organisation and that a focus will be placed on appointing more women to influential positions at all levels of the sport.

The German promised a review of structures to ensure more women are enlisted to influential positions.

He made an address to the sport's stakeholders pledging that more will be done to make the pathway to leadership roles much clearer.

"More women have taken up important positions in the National Federations and the ICF structure during the last year," Konietzko said in the end-of-year speech.

"We need to do better here and I can only encourage more women to get involved in our sport.

"We will improve the structures within the ICF and provide access to important positions especially for women."

Konietzko also promised to continue developing new initiatives across paddling sports, citing the success of the inaugural ICF Virtual World Cup earlier this month.

He also said that the ICF will strive to continue and improve its work in the fields of sustainability and athlete safeguarding.

The 59-year-old also mentioned that the governing body will review its ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes.

The ICF banned competitors from the two countries in March following the invasion of Ukraine and also voted to suspend officials from its events and from attending or taking part in any of its meetings, committees and forums.

"We as the ICF acted swiftly and cancelled all competitions in Russia immediately after the war started and suspended Russian and Belarusian officials from participating in our events," Konietzko said.

"This was the right decision at the time to protect our competitions but yes we know that this also unfortunately punishes athletes who are not responsible for the terrible policy of their country.

"Sport should unite not divide, that's why we should analyse the situation carefully and together.

"With the International Olympic Committee and other International Federations looking for ways to allow all athletes to compete again without lifting the sanctions against the Russian Federation."