Several projects are planned to construct artificial white water courses in Denmark, where kayakers, canoeists and rafters will have the opportunity to improve their white water skills in their own country. With these new courses the hope is Denmark’s white water competitors will be able to raise the level of skill in their sport as well as giving young people new opportunities in white water sports. To find out what that will mean to Denmark and how it will affect rafting we speak with Michael Lindberg, a member of Rafting Club Copenhagen and the rafting team that will participate at the next Euro Championships which is set to start on the 29th August.
“Rafting is not a big sport in Denmark as we do not have any rivers or artificial white water that we can train on. We mainly train on flat water and when we have time and finances we go to different Euro Cups, or Sweden and Norway, to gain some white water experience. It means that we can’t be as technically strong as many other teams who do train on white water every week. However, we put an effort into having a high physical level by alternating our flat water training and strength training in the gym.“
To be able to excel in white water sports there is an essential need to construct a artificial course in Denmark, “It’s difficult to attract young people to the sport in Denmark because of the training facilities, we can not develop kayaking, canoeing and rafting effectively unless we have a course near home to train on. Hopefully we will overcome these obstacles after the construction.”
“To realize a project like Copenhagen White Water Park (CWWP) we need finances that can support the actual building process but initially there will be bids for the architecture. Every support and sponsors are welcome to join in – at first we need 35.000 euro for the architecture. We are in constant dialogue with the municipality of Hoeje Taastrup – just 20 km. from Copenhagen center about building CWWP and they have already decided to use a ground of 100.00 m2 for the project.“
The course will be beneficial to develop Olympic slalom athletes in Denmark and hopefully one day help promote rafting as an Olympic sport. The most important thing is that the public, sponsors and the state recognize the importance and potential of building a white water course that will benefit so many people.
The passion of Denmark rafters to develop their sport in their Country is reflected in the commitment and time they have put in since 2001 and this is a great achievement for athletes who compete on white water but don’t actually have the facilities to train on in their own Country. Hopefully they will be rewarded with a new white water course.
The obstacle of limited white water to train on does not seem to deter these athletes from Denmark. They will be sending 2 teams for the R4 category and 1 team for the R6 for the up coming 2012 ERC. Competing at Lipno will be quite special for some of the R6 team as this was the venue of their first competition, the 2003 World Championships. Denmark have had a presents at every major competition since 2003 therefore have a great deal of competition experience in their team.
Jakob Faerch competed at the 2003 Worlds in Lipno : – “Czech Republic and Lipno means a lot for the Team. WRC 2003 in Lipno was our first appearance at an IRF WRC, we were stunned by the atmosphere that the Czech people made during the event, and we just loved the river. For us at that time the river was extremely challenging, we had a flip in the 1. slalom run (two other teams also flipped later on in the event), had a lot of fun and good action in the Devils Streams section of the downriver. We did not finish high in the ranking, but our team has improved a lot over the years so we feel a lot better prepared this time. Our tactics is ready at hand, and we aim at having an advantage over some other teams, at least the other Nordic teams from Finland and Sweden which we plan to beat this year. Czech Rep. in general has been a big part of the development of Danish rafting. We have been on countless training trips in Prague, Ceske Budejovice, and other small articifial courses in the country. We just love the people, nature and cities here.”
“During summer months (April – October) we train 2-3 times a week on flat water and a built up slalom course on flat water. We combine it with 3-5 times of weekly strength training in the gym and training camps to Sweden or Norway to get white water experience or Euro cup competitions around in Europe. This year we went to Wildalpen in Austria and Bratislava in Slovakia. During winter (November – March) we do raft training 1-3 times a month, but then we do 5-6 times of strength training in the gym.
“The team is known for its great team spirit and we gained a prize for this at the Euro Championships in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2005.“
“We want to be the highest ranking team in Scandinavian at the 2012 ERC and aim to finish in the top half of the teams.”
All the team members are greatly involved in the development of the white water course in Denmark and with the commitment they have shown to their sport over the last 10 years, I am sure it is only a matter of time before the white water course is built and all white water lover will be able to reap the benefits thanks to the help of these athletes.
Thank you to Michael Lindberg and Jakob Faerch for making time to speak with me.