The ICF and COPAC met for canoe development talks in Puerto Rico ©ICF

The International Canoe Federation (ICF) has met with the Pan American Canoe Federation (COPAC) President Victor Ruiz to discuss canoeing development in the region, with an aim to improve the quality of the field at the Pan American Games.

ICF President Thomas Konietzko, vice-president Cecilia Farias and secretary general Richard Pettit travelled to the headquarters of the Olympic Committee of Puerto Rico to meet Ruiz.

Part of these discussions is to improve the sport and organisation of the regional qualifiers in the build-up to the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games, where canoe sprint, canoe slalom and kayak cross are the disciplines on the programme.

"Based on a decision by the ICF board, the 2027 Pan American Games in Colombia will be the first time that the Continental Olympic qualifiers for sprint, slalom and kayak cross for the Los Angeles Games will be held as part of the Pan American Games," said Konietzko.

"Therefore, the cooperation with the Colombian Canoe Federation the Colombian Olympic Committee and Panam Sports will be strengthened in order to organise a top-class competition during the Pan American Games."

Nevin Harrison was one of three gold medallists from the Pan American region in canoeing at Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images
Nevin Harrison was one of three gold medallists from the Pan American region in canoeing at Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

Four countries from the region won medals in canoeing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Brazil and Cuba claimed gold medals in the men's C1 1,000 metres and C2 1,000m events, while the United States won the women's C1 200m gold medal.

Canada claimed two medals at the Games too - silver in the women's C1 200m final and bronze in the C2 500m final.

The meeting also centred around the appointment of an ICF continental manager to create sustainable development who can train coaches and improve governance in National Federations too.

Targeted support will be provided through the results of virtual canoeing events too.

The ICF met athletes from Puerto Rico's national canoeing team, who spoke about qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympics and Santiago 2023 Pan American Games.

Later, the organisation also met with representatives from the Olympic Committee of Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican Sports Ministry.