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Alexandr Nikonorov - "We still have to learn and improve"

Alexandr Nikonorov - 28.10.2018

The last day of the seventh edition of International Congress for Canoeing Coaches in Catoira, Spain, brought another group of interesting presenters. James Train, Xabi Etxaniz, Alexandr Nikonorov, Maialen Chourraut and Saul Craviotto shared their experiences and knowledge with around 300 atendees of the congress which brought together canoeing coaches from European countries as well as atendees from United States of America, New Zealand, South America ...

The last day begun with presentations of James Train and Xabi Etxaniz. British coach James Train explained the talent transfer project and selection process they have exectued in Great Britain, called "G4G - Girls 4 Gold". He talked about the girls who have applied to be a part of the project "G4G" where they were looking for talented athletes. He explained what they were looking for in these girls, what phases were they carrying out, what was their motivation etc. 
At the same time Xabi Etxaniz presented the canoe slalom technical work development. He pointed out the importance of technical trainings on flat and wildwater with and without gates and how important is the repetition. He showed many videos of training examples he did with the 2016 Olympic Champion Maialen Chourraut.  
The congress day continued with the lecture of Alexandr Nikonorov, scientist and successful coach of British, Spanish and other teams. He was discussing the improvement of speed in canoeing. He analysed the development of speed in the 200 metres events from the 1994 World Championships in Mexico City where the 200 metres races were first introduced at this level until today. The times set in the shortest distance have improved in time, but he observed that the times at the 500 metres distance remain more or less the same since the year 2008. He also pointed out that the training volume has dropped a lot in time. In the 1980 athletes did 1500 hours of training in comparison to the year 2016 when only 600 hours of training was carried out. He considers this a bad thing and he is convinced it could be improved. "We still have to learn and improve," was one of the things he wanted to transmit to the coaches. 
Two of the most successful Spanish paddlers also took the stage in Catoira to share their stories. Maialen Chourraut, 2016 Rio Olympics Canoe Slalom Champion, talked about her beginnings and the path she walked to get to the much wanted Olympic Champion title. It was not easy as she fought with shoulder injuries, operations and recovery. In 2013 she gave birth to a daughter and she talked about balancing trainings and motherhood. Saul Craviotto on the other hand already had two Olympic medals in his pocket from the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, but he missed the Olympic quota at the 2015 World Championships. After that he thought about leaving canoeing, but changed his mind to finally win two medals, including gold, at the 2016 Olympic Games. 33-year-old kayaker also talked about his other activities and experiences, including the participation and final win in the MasterChef celebrity edition reality show. 
To close the 2018 edition of the congress in Catoira president of the International Canoe Federation Jose Perurena discuseed the future and challenges canoeing will face, especially the possible scenarios of the Olympic Games programme. 
The next edition of the congress comes in the 2020, after the Olympic Games in Tokyo.