With team entries now officially closed and at 85 teams coming we can see that this is the largest number of teams we’ve ever had attending a World Rafting Champs. Last year was our previous largest at 71 and before that it was 63 in New Zealand (2013) and Netherlands (2010).
Knowing that finances play the biggest role in teams attending we can see that the cheaper flights to get to the UAE have had an effect.
Comparing to past years
Taking a look at the Open teams we can see the numbers peaked in 2009 (BiH) at 53 teams (32 men’s and 21 women’s). This was just before the world economical crunch and so we have assumed the decline has mostly been financial for the teams. What is really interesting here is that the number of Open Women’s teams did not decrease as much and sits at a constant 3/4 of the total of Open Men’s team – a percentage we can be very proud of in comparison to other paddling sports.
The growth in team numbers can be seen in the newer categories of Youth (U19 and U23) and Masters (40+).
Masters are up to 18 teams this year and what is very encouraging is the leap from 4 Masters Women’s teams last year to 7 this year.
The U23 teams seem to be a constant number except that there are always more in the R4 year. In the R6 year it is about 10 men’s to 3 women’s teams, and in an R4 year it is about 11 to 6 teams. An interesting phenomena. Maybe putting a team of 4 together is easier to do? Financially cheaper?
This is only the 4th year for the U19 division and we can see a steady increase there from 8, to 11, then 11 again and this year with 13 teams. Women’s teams generally make up about 62% of the teams each year, except for last year where the had 1 team more than the men’s!
New teams and countries
There will be 28 countries competing this year. The most number of countries we’ve ever had at a WRC was 2009 (BiH) where we had 34 countries. Costa Rica in 2011 was next with 33 and then South Korea and Netherlands next with 30 each.
For the first time we will be seeing China, Nepal and the UAE competing at one of our events. China recently held a World Cup event where 12 international teams attended. As it was the first IRF event the Chinese teams have competed at it was great to see that they were very competitive and I’m sure will do well at the WRC. The Nepal teams have not been able to finance teams to get to our WRC before and so this time is a bonus for them as they have guides working at Wadi Adventure and so will be competing! The hosts, UAE, have also put a team together from their Abu Dhabi Police Marine Rescue Unit – great for the locals to have a home team to cheer.
It is also great to see the USA bringing more teams, particularly Masters – having been the champions in Project Raft days, they certainly have a good pool of Masters to choose from! So many countries are sending new teams in various divisions – it is excellent to see this growth in these countries.
Full break down: Teams registered = 85. Countries represented = 28.
|Open (37)||Masters (18)||U23 (17)||U19 (13)||per|
|Men (20)||Women (17)||Men (11)||Women (7)||Men (11)||Women (6)||Men (8)||Women (5)||country|