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Czech Canoe Union celebrates 110 years today

On this day, 29th November 1913, the Union of Canoeists of the Kingdom of Bohemia, the predecessor of Czech Canoe Union, was established. Happy 110th Birthday, Czech Canoe Union!

It has been 110 years since the Czech Canoe Union has been established and since then it has become one of the most successful and the best organised canoeing federations in the world, with many World, European and Olympic Games medals in its collection.
The first kayaks and canoes in Central Europe, including Czechia, date way back. It is said that in the 15th century, the knight Zachař from Pašiněvsi rode along the Czech rivers. He was awarded a coat of arms depicting a kayaker with a paddle. In Europe, the kayak was mainly used in the Scandinavian countries, from which it gradually spread to other parts of Europe, where it was already used for recreational purposes and later also for sports purposes.
One of its enthusiastic promoters was the Scotsman MacGregor, the founder of the English Royal Canoe Club, who built a solid wooden kayak called the Rob-Roy, based on the Eskimo kayak. With it, he undertook a number of publicity rides with great acclaim throughout Europe. The invention of the folding kayak in 1905 by Alfred Heurich contributed to the great popularity of this vessel.
In Czechia, Josef Rössler Ořovský has the greatest credit for the development of water tourism and canoeing. He promoted the construction of canoes at the Czech Yacht Club, which were used for tourism on Czech rivers. After the creation of a number of canoeing clubs, the Union of Canoeists of the Kingdom of Bohemia was founded in 1913, the predecessor of today's Czech Canoe Union.
On 20th January 1924, representatives of Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Austria founded the International Representative of Kanusport (IRK) in Copenhagen. Czech union joined the IRK in 1925 as the fifth member and is counted among the five founding countries.
In the same year, IRK commissioned Czech union to organise within the International Olympic Congress in Prague in 1925 large international canoeing competitions. They were supposed to promote canoeing among the participants of the congress thanks to the effort to include canoeing in the programme of the Olympic Games. For the first time, the races were contested on flat water in 1000 metres distance (1500 metres in kayak) and in 10.000 metres events.
The Czechoslovak Championships was held for the first time in 1925. In 1933, the first canoe sprint European Championships took place in Prague, and contributed to the inclusion of canoeing to the programme of the Olympic Games in 1936. In 1938 the first canoe sprint World Championships was held in Sweden.
When it comes to Canoe Slalom, Czechia was again among the first countries to introduce it. The first Czechoslovak canoe slalom pioneer was the paddler from Brno František Smutný, who organized the first slalom competition in Czechoslovakia with his colleagues in 1937. The first Republic Championships in canoe slalom took place in 1939, and in wildwater canoeing in 1957.
In 1946, the International Canoe Federation - ICF was established, and whose chairman in the years 1954 - 1960 was the Czechoslovak canoeist JUDr. Karel Popel, honorary chairman of the ICF until his death in 1972 (he was instrumental in organising the 1958 World Championships in canoe sprint in Prague).
O. Jirásek became the first Czech world champion in slalom in C1 in Tacen 1955, and since then the Czech canoe slalom paddlers had great success at all international competitions. Lída Veberová – Polesná, Petr Sodomka, Vladimír Jirásek, Lukáš Pollert, Štěpánka Hilgertová, Šimek – Rohan, Jiří Prskavec, Jiras – Máder, Stanislav Ježek, Vít Přindiš, Lukáš Rohan are only some of the great names of Czech canoe slalom.
Not to forget are Czech canoe sprinters, who also had great success at the biggest international canoeing competitions. Brzák-Syrovátka, Mottl-Škrdlant, Holeček, Čapek, Brzák-Kudrna, Doktor, Havel, Trefil, Dostál, Štěrba, Šlouf, Fuksa are just a few of them.


Source: https://www.kanoe.cz/svaz/csk/historie