George Oliver 1948 – 2020

It is with great sadness that we bring you the news of the death of George Oliver, long term member of Nottingham Kayak Club and friend to paddlers all over the country and abroad.

He came to Nottingham as a cabinet maker at Stag in 1970, joining the club in the autumn of that year. He was already a paddler, having sea canoed in the North East. On joining the club he took particular interest in Long Distance Racing, now known as Marathon. However, his interest in other branches of the sport remained and he brought his skill in boat building to designs in sea boats, canoes, racing kayaks, polo and slalom boats. Up until his death in February this year he was still working on new designs for both outriggers and marathon canoes.

Without George, Nottingham Kayak Club would not be the club it is today. With his help we were able to develop a fleet of racing kayaks and canoes, general purpose and canoe polo boats. Club membership also benefitted from George’s guidance in making their own boats. Income generated by the club under his guidance allowed developments way beyond anything the existing members could have managed, including replacing old wooden outdoor boat-racks and a crumbling wooden shed with our current building.

George worked at a number of jobs including a laminator for a local plastics company, building much bigger boats than canoes. Meanwhile, he continued to develop his coaching skills and paddling prowess including winning Liffey Descent in K2, DW Canadian Trophy and DW Mixed K2 & Home Built Boat. He also went to Eaton Hall College, Retford and qualified as a teacher, although young people in canoeing benefitted from that move more than those in classrooms or workshops.

In 1980 George took on the role of Administrator to Canoe 81 Nottingham, the Sprint World Championships. After this very successsful event had taken place, he took the job of Canoe Coaching and Development Officer for Nottinghamshire County Council, giving support and help to schools and clubs all over the county. He kept this role until the funding for Leisure Services dwindled and ceased when he retired. He had also travelled abroad with the national sprint and marathon teams, and it was in 1982 at the sprint World Championships in Belgrade that he met his wife, Radmila.

Throughout his involvement in other areas of paddlesport, George continued to support NKC generating funding in the club workshop and producing entry level racing boats. Few paddlers at events like DW or Watersides can have failed to spot the multitude of boats he made. All have his trademark rib along the centre of both front and back deck. The “stable K2” started life as a slightly longer version specifically for DW, but could not be used in other events, so the standard K2 length version emerged soon afterwards, remaining popular to this day among paddlers wanting a stable K2. Trimmers also remain popular as a stable K1. In recent yearshis main developments have been canoes or outriggers. Most outrigger paddlers in this country using his 01 boats know little of his legacy to the rest of the paddling world.

Many paddlers in the UK have a great deal to thank him for, often unaware of his support for paddling in disciplines other than their own. Sea canoeists, slalom paddlers, sprint, marathon, freestyle, polo – the list goes on, but George made contributions to the development of most disciplines. It didn’t matter if you had known him for 5 days or 50 years, George offered his skills, guidance and friendship in his own quiet, unassuming way.

Although dogged by health issues over the past few years he remained an active paddler at NKC and continued to do some of those “hidden” jobs that make up a club’s existence. The weekly “Clifton Race” in its current form is mainly a legacy of his, and he contributed to timing it until the week he went into hospital.

Over the years he collected many awards: Nottingham City Citizen of the Month; Bravery (for rescuing people from the Trent); Volunteer Awards; Lifetime Achievement Awards, but more important than those, without his guidance, support and friendship. many developments in our sport would not have taken place when and how they did. More importantly, as tributes to him attest, many of our lives would have been completely different. We owe George a great deal.

Nottingham Kayak Club, February 2020

  Stronger Together 2021-2025 High Performance Strategy Consultation – opportunity to have your say

A letter from Paul Ratcliffe, Performance Director, British Canoeing:

Stronger Together 2021-2025
During the next 10 months we will be consulting on and finalising the new strategy for British Canoeing for 2021-2025. Stronger Together 2021-2025 will set out the vision and plans for the entire work of British Canoeing for the next 4 years.

New Talent and Podium Strategy for Sprint, Slalom and Paracanoe 2021-2025
Running parallel with this we also need to develop our new strategy (2021-25) for the development of talent and podium success in our Olympic and Paralympic disciplines. This process needs to align with the timescales of the funding submissions to Sport England and UK Sport, as most of this work is funded by these two organisations.

As part of developing this strategy, we would like to hear your views on our current thinking for the Vision, Missions, Ambitions and Key Drivers for the British Canoeing Olympic and Paralympic Performance Strategy.

The Situational Analysis of Sprint
You may be aware that we currently have an analysis underway (to be completed by March 2020) around the future potential of our sprint system to be even more successful internationally. The findings of this situational analysis of sprint will feed into this strategy process later in the year.

A change in emphasis
This Strategy will take a longer term view than the previous 4 year plans and will set out a Vision for 2032 and milestones for 2024 and 2028.
The strategy will be shaped to include the work at club level as well as within teams and squads and the lottery-funded programmes. It will present a framework for a joined up system rather than simply a focus on just the lottery-funded Podium and Podium Potential programmes.
As we develop this strategy, we would like to hear your views and receive your comments on the first draft Vision, Missions, Ambitions and Key Drivers.
We will evaluate and consider all of the feedback, and plan to consult further as the broader talent and performance strategies emerge.
We would be grateful if you could complete this survey by midday on Friday 21 February.
We would love to share this as widely as possible so please don’t hesitate to send this to anyone you feel might want to contribute. Thank you i advance for taking the time to comment.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Ratcliffe
Performance Director

  England Canoe Sprint Talent Programme 2020-21 Qualification Criteria

The 2020-21 England Sprint Talent Programme Qualification Criteria has been formally launched. The coaching group have invested a great deal of deliberation and thought in its development. The criteria is aligned to the WITTP model and presents an evolution of the previous year’s – reflective of both a raising standard and ambition for the programme. As per last year there are presentations planned throughout the season to ensure that the process, policy and criteria are understood.

The full details of the Qualification Criteria are available HERE

  Reorganisation of Women Masters athletes into 4 classes

Following a request and discussion during the 2019 season it has been decided to increase the number of Women Master classes from 2 to 4. The new classes will be Women Masters C (MVCK) and Women Masters D (MVDK), mirroring the current structure for the Men Masters classes. It is hoped that the new structure will encourage more Women Masters paddlers to enter National Competitions.

As a result of implementing the new structure, Women Masters paddlers with current MVAK and MVBK will be regraded for the start of the 2020 season. Existing MVAK paddlers will be regraded to MVBK, and existing MVBK paddlers will be regraded to MVDK. In the Standards for Sprint Racing table, Women Masters A and B would move to Bands 3 and 4 respectively, and Women Masters C and D would be added to Bands 5 and 6 respectively. The Sprint Racing Committee (SRC) has approved this proposal.

The Standards for Sprint Racing have been updated to include these additional classes and to allocate all four Women Masters classes to the appropriate bands. The revised Standards for Sprint Racing tables will appear in the 2020 Racing Handbook. Preview copies are available on the link below.

    icon_pdf  Revised Standards for Sprint Racing

  Separate Standards of racing for male and female athletes

During the 2019 season a trial was held using a separate table for Women’s and Girl’s Racing Standards from the Men’s and Boy’s table when determining promotions and demotions.  This approach reflected the difference in times averaged over a suitable time period. While not having any impact on selections, it’s adoption will make it easier for more Women and Girls to progress through the classes and into the A classes than previously. It will also lower the entry requirement for each class by approximately 3 seconds.  The times being used have been adjusted from the original proposal and do not 100% reflect the real difference between the upper (fastest) and lower (slower) bands as adjustment have been made for safety reasons to reduce the impact of the proposed  changes on the lower bands and the minimum entry standard to race at the National Regattas.  The Sprint Racing Committee (SRC) has approved the adoption of these times.  This trial will be closely monitored and reviewed at the end of the season.

There is now a separate table for Standards for Sprint Racing for the Women’s and Girl’s classes. The Men’s and Boy’s classes will have their own table. The new tables will appear in the 2020 Racing Handbook. Preview copies of both tables are available on the link below.

icon_pdf  Revised Standards of Racing tables

  New Junior Sprint classes – Boys and Girls Intermediate Kayak

We are replacing the existing BU12 and GU12 Classes with two new classes, Boys Intermediate Kayak (BIK) and Girls Intermediate Kayak (GIK).

These new classes will allow any U14 paddler who has not yet achieved the minimum time for Boys D Kayak (BDK) or Girls D Kayak (GDK) class events to race in sprint K1 boats at the National Regattas.  This trial will be reviewed at the end of the season.

Boys Intermediate Kayak (BIK) minmum 500m time = 2:46
Girls Intermediate Kayak (GIK) minimum 500m time = 2:59

Once paddlers in the new classes have achieved the qualification time for a Junior D class they will be promoted and no longer be allowed to race the BIK or GIK classes.

BIK and GIK paddlers will be allowed to race in D class crew boats as long as 50% of the paddlers in the crew boat are ranked individually as D class paddlers.

Note that, as a consequence of these changes, there will be no U12 classes at the Junior National Championship in April.

More details of the new classes can be found on the link below:

icon_pdf  Introduction for Junior Intermediate classes

  2020 National Regattas

The dates and focus for this year’s national regattas are as follows:

28-29 March 2020 Open and National Senior Championship Sprint Regatta includes Senior selection events for World Cups and Olympic qualifications
25-26 April 2020 Open and National Paracanoe & Junior Championship Sprint Regatta includes Junior selection events for Europeans and Worlds, and Paras selection event for the Olympics
6-7 June 2020 Open and National Under 23 Championship Sprint Regatta includes U23 selection events
4-5 July 2020 Open and national Masters Championship Sprint Regatta
5-6 September 2020 The Inter-Services Championships and Open and National Inter-club MacGregor Paddle Challenge Sprint Regatta

  England Development Programme – Training Event

The England Canoe Sprint Talent Programme are pleased to announce details of their forthcoming England Development Programme (EDP) training event.

8th and 9th February 2020 at Reading Canoe Club, The Warren, Reading RG4 7TH
Please note that no accommodation will be provided for athletes or coaches at this event.

Each camp’s provision will be themed around the 4-phase race model (see below) and sessions will be structured as stage and age appropriate for U14-U16 athletes for the relevant point in the season.

1 – Start technique
2 – Transition into Race Pace
3 – Race Pace
4 – Race Pace endurance

Camp provision will be structured to ensure that learning and development occurs between events. As such, it is highly encouraged that athletes should attend these events with their club coach as this will support the intended learning outcomes of these weekends and each EDP core event will include coach development opportunities. The Talent Coach Developer will be present at this training weekend to provide support to club coaches.

This weekend will be building on the FIRST WEEKEND with an emphasis on the 3rd phase of the Race Profile model, with a focus on maximising Distance Per Stroke.

Programme Purpose
The EDP is a new addition to the pathway for 2019/20, the intent with this programme is to help identify and support emerging club-based athletes who are primarily under 16 and who may be challenging for the GB Junior team in the next 2-3 years, as well as supporting these athletes’ coaches within the clubs. The full Eligibility Policy is available HERE.

How to sign up
Athletes and coaches are invited to register for the February Development weekend using the link HERE before 5th February 2020.