A leap forward in women’s paracanoe in line for Paris

Nautical Channel
23 Nov 2021

The International Canoe Federation will reach gender equality in paracanoe in the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. 

A new women’s event will be added to the Paralympics programme in Paris 2024. The Women’s VL3 will debut, taking the total number of medals at the Games. Now, both men and women compete in five events, an increase from the nine gold medal races during the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. 

Moreover, the International Paralympic Committee has confirmed an extra 10 athlete quota. This will take the total number to 100. The events of the paralympic will have ten specific quotas with the potential to double up the kayak and VA’ categories. 

"We are grateful to the IPC for the confidence they have shown by including women’s VL3 on the Paris programme,” -John Edwards, ICF paracanoe committee chairman. 

Exciting news for gender equality

This news is exciting as now gender equality has been reached at the Paralympics. After encouraging more women to give this category a try, the federation has seen an increase in women’s VL3 evolution. Great Britain’s Charlotte Henshaw, winner of the gold in the women’s KL2 is also the reigning world champion in VL3. 

In VL3 para canoeing events, participants have full function of arms and trunk and partial function of legs. The difference it has with VL1 or VL2 is the impairments of the athletes: in VL1 athletes propel using only their arms while in VL2 they propel with their arms and trunk. VL3 is destined to those with the less limiting impairment, being able to partially use their legs as well. 

You might find interesting: Have you wondered what the difference is between kayaking and canoeing? Discover the difference between these types of boat

“You’ve seen it here, we had two heats which is the first time that’s happened, it’s a competitive race even before it is announced as part of the Paris programme. It’s really exciting to see it grow, and become even more competitive.” -Henshaw

Paracanoe debuted in the Rio 2016 Summer Paralympics, but the first ‘paddability’ races were disputed during the 2009 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships. While kayaks are double-paddle, the outrigger canoes called va’as (V) use a single blade paddle with a T-top handle. In 2010, the International Paralympic Committee decided to add paracanoe to the Paralympic programme, and since then their involvement in international competitions has been growing. 

On Nautical Channel we hope to see a great number of empowered women participating in the paralympics during the 2024 Paris Games. If you want to start getting excited about the upcoming Olympics and Paralympics, then watch the latest ICF canoe competitions

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