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Athlete Pathway

Canoe Racing New Zealand (CRNZ) has enjoyed podium performances at every World Championships since 2011, including two gold medals at the 2015 World Championships, plus an Olympic Gold medal in 2012.
CRNZ are committed to providing a sustainable high performance environment that continues this success and consistently produces podium winning athletes into the future.

A strong high performance system with a clear athlete pathway is essential to achieve our vision to “develop high performance kiwi sprint athletes to win on the world stage”.

What is a High Performance Athlete Pathway?

A High Performance Athlete Pathway is a framework that describes the typical stages of athlete development from club competitor to podium performer, along with the standards, competencies, opportunities and expectations characteristic of each stage.

Why do we need a High Performance Athlete Pathway?

A structured athlete pathway enables CRNZ to identify, track and support athletes, ensuring they are in the right environment, receiving the right support, at the right time. The CRNZ High Performance Athlete Pathway aims to maximise the opportunity for each individual to achieve their full potential.
An effective athlete pathway will result in more athletes, of a higher quality, who are better prepared to transition into a full time high performance environment and achieve World Class results.

The CRNZ High Performance Athlete Pathway:


For a more detailed outline of the CRNZ High Performance Athlete Pathway, please refer to the CRNZ High Performance Athlete Pathway Snapshots for men and women

CRNZ High Performance Athlete Pathway Programmes

Based on the characteristics, needs, and considerations specific to each stage of development, CRNZ has designed corresponding Athlete Pathway Programmes.

From Foundation to High Performance, the standards, provisions, commitment and expectations of the CRNZ Athlete Pathway Programmes progressively increase. As your performance improves, so too does your level of involvement, the opportunities available, and level of support provided.

Each year following the Canoe Sprint National Championships, athletes will be assessed and invited to join the appropriate Pathway Programme. Ongoing involvement in Pathway Programmes and transition opportunities will be assessed via regular performance planning and monitoring processes.

For a more detailed outline of each stage of the CRNZ High Performance Athlete Pathway and corresponding Pathway Programmes, please follow the links below:

Paddle ID
Paddle to Podium
High Performance Development
High Performance (Podium Potential and Podium)

CRNZ is also committed to high quality coaching and coach development. In alignment with the High Performance Athlete Pathway, CRNZ has prepared a High Performance Coaching Pathway with related Coach Development Programmes. For more information, please visit our High Performance Coach Development page.

How was the CRNZ High Performance Athlete Pathway formulated?

The CRNZ High Performance Athlete Pathway was created by tracing historical race results and performance trajectories for 49 medallists from the 2012 London Olympics, in combination with athlete development theory and experiential learning from New Zealand athletes, coaches, and past programmes. A range of contributors including CRNZ High Performance Coaches, Pathway Coaches, and talent development specialists were involved in the documentation of the Athlete Pathway and design of associated Pathway Programmes.

While the Pathway may be strongly evidenced based, we still have a lot to learn about athlete development and support. Over time, as we discover new insights, the CRNZ High Performance Athlete Pathway and our Pathway Programmes will evolve and adapt. Therefore, our Pathway today is a starting point that will be regularly reviewed and updated.

An important note about the CRNZ High Performance Athlete Pathway

It is important to highlight that the High Performance Athlete Pathway described is simply a guide describing the typical athlete and usual characteristics at each stage of the Pathway. From time to time, there may be some flexibility in programme selections, support and expectations to accomodate athletes whose circumstances may be slightly different to the norm, or who follow an atypical entry and/or progression in our sport. We acknowledge that some athletes develop earlier than others, some athletes progress faster than others, and some athletes don’t even come into canoe racing until a later age. As such, the CRNZ High Performance Athlete Pathway may not describe the performance journey with perfect accuracy for all athletes, however, it does provide a general indication of the CRNZ High Performance system and associated opportunities and expectations for the majority.

Further information

For more information on the CRNZ High Performance Athlete Pathway you may wish to download the CRNZ High Performance Athlete Pathway Overview.

A detailed Athlete Pathway Handbook will be provided to all athletes upon selection to a CRNZ Pathway Programme, containing all necessary information relevant to their involvement.

Please direct any further enquiries via email to


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