IRF WRC 2024 - Opening Ceremony - teams

IRF WRC 2024 officially opened in Banja Luka

The International Rafting Federation’s World Rafting Championship 2024 has now officially begun. The world descends on Banja Luka for the third time for this momentous rafting event.

Aleksander Pastir, Event Director, welcomed esteemed guests. Photo courtesty of SrpskaCafe

More than 400 competitors from 20 nations poured into the stadium in the town of Krupa na Vrbas, right by the banks of the river Vrbas, for the Opening Ceremony last night.  Competition on the Vrbas river will be an opportunity for the whole world to see the great potential for rafting that Republika Srpska has, said Rafting Club “Kanjon”, the organiser of this year’s event.

“I am proud that Banja Luka is hosting such an important event for the third time. We should be proud of what we do, Banja Luka and Krupa na Vrbas are writing history” noted Event Director, Aleksander Pastir. He thanked all the institutions, the city of Banja Luka, and above all the volunteers of the Rafting Club Kanjon who worked selflessly and wholeheartedly to achieve all this. “We dedicate this competition to Krupa na Vrbas, our people and volunteers” said Aleksander Pastir and wished everyone a successful competition.

Joe Willis Jones, IRF President, echoed sentiments of a warm welcome and happiness to return to Vrbas. Photo courtesty of SrpskaCafe

In welcoming teams, dignitaries, and the people of the region, IRF President, Joe Willis Jones, echoed Aleksander Pastir’s sentiments in his welcome speech: “Working together as one family we are strong, and we can create opportunities to make our lives and our sport even better. This is our dream, and I am happy to say that together we are on the path towards making our Olympic dream a reality.

Equally important, the World Rafting Championship is about celebrating our worldwide friendship. It is about the happiness we feel when we gather together with our rafting family in beautiful places like the Vrbas River.

I want to thank the local community who has welcomed us here again, and for the third time has opened its doors to us and hosted our World Championship.

Joe Willis Jones also made special note of the IRF officials and judges, who are all volunteers, that have traveled here from far away to give their time and talents. He thanked them for their strong commitment and tireless efforts to make this Championship successful.

Mayor of Banja Luka, Draško Stanivuković, expressed pride for the support and contriburions of the peoples of Republika Srpska. Photo courtesty of SrpskaCafe

In closing, IRF President, Joe Willis Jones, wished all competitors the best luck and sporting spirit in the competition, and shared how “very honored and very proud”
he is to be part of this river family and asked all gathered to join us in celebrating rafting competition.

Mayor of Banja Luka, Draško Stanivuković, made special mention that Banja Luka and the entire Republika Srpska have shown the strength to organise such a big event in just six months, which will last for the four days. Draško Stanivuković concluded that “this shows great hospitality and that we are the most hospitable people in the world and that we are ready to welcome more than 400 competitors from 20 countries”.

On behalf of the President of Republika Srpska, the World Rafting Championship 2024 was opened by Minister of Trade and Tourism Denis Šulić. Photo courtesty of SrpskaCafe

On behalf of the President of Republika Srpska, the World Rafting Championship 2024 was opened by Minister of Trade and Tourism Denis Šulić, saying this is the headquarters of the world of rafting sport.

“Welcome to Republika Srpska, a country of proud people, untouched nature and perfect gastronomic offers. It is a great honor for me to open the World Rafting Championship on behalf of the President of Republika Srpska Milorad Dodik, which is being organised for the third time here, in Republika Srpska” – said Šulić. 

He wished all competitors from a lot of sporting success, with the message “may the best win”.

The World Rafting Championship, in which more than 60 teams from 20 countries will participate, was officially opened at the football stadium in the Banja Luka village of Krupa na Vrbas. Sprint and Head-to-Head (H2H) races will be held on the Bijeli Buk track, slalom in Tijesno canyon, and downhill from Krupa to Karanovac. The live stream for the racing can be found on YouTube:

Live results can be found through the Siwidata link.

Some photos from the celebrations at the Opening Ceremony:

Mayor of Bana Luka, Draško Stanivuković, and IRF President, Joe Willis Jones

Some photos, and extracts within this article are sourced from SprskaCafe.

#AreYouReady #IRFWRC #BanjaLuka #Vrbas #RepublikaSrpska #StrongerTogether