It feels like a huge understatement to say that lots has happened over the last few weeks. It can feel trivial to talk about the changes we’re facing given the situation that NZ and the World are in. Nonetheless, whilst we all pull together as Kiwis to eradicate Covid-19, our task as a team and as an organisation remains the same and we are trying to make the best of the opportunities provided by these changes.
Understanding the situation
Our first task has been to get our heads around the current state of affairs. The implementation of the alert system and the quick moves from Level 2 to Level 4 challenged everyone’s adaptability and foresight.
The other big change in our context has been the postponement or cancellation of a number of events. The Olympic Games and Paralympic Games have now been postponed 12 months, and World Cups have been cancelled. All domestic competition is also on hold.
A big question over the last fortnight or so was whether, and in what circumstances, paddling was still possible at Level 4. That uncertainty was removed on Saturday 4 April when the government released a new regulation prohibiting water sports until April 22. Whilst this might have been disappointing for paddlers, we welcome the certainty it provides and encourage our community to comply with the new rules.
International Competition Update
The closure of NZ’s borders and inability to train means that we will not be sending any teams overseas to World Cups or U18 World Champs. Whilst U18 Worlds have not been cancelled at this stage, we believed it best to make this decision early in order to relieve pressure on athletes, parents, coaches and managers. Despite this decision, we are announcing the U18 team in order to recognise the efforts of the U18 athletes and their coaches. See announcement.
There is still some uncertainty regarding the remainder of 2020, both in terms of whether competitions will take place and whether we will be able to send teams, taking into account ability to train, the risks of foreign travel and the reopening of NZ’s borders.
We are working on the assumption that there will not be any international travel this winter. If there are any significant changes that allow New Zealanders the opportunity to travel, we will respond accordingly. In the meantime, we will keep our community in the loop with regular updates.
CRNZ Team Update
The postponement of the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games was a big change to process – Olympic/Paralympic preparation has been a huge part of the lives of a number of our athletes and coaches. I’ve been really impressed by how the team has taken the news in their stride and adapted to the new reality.
Our team has been working on a number of new projects, prioritised according to our new 2020-2028 strategy. We are making the most of this time – being unable to carry on business as usual has given opportunities to spend time on projects that will put CRNZ in a better place. In particular, we are working on coaching resources, participation initiatives and junior/schools competitions – we hope to be able to bring some exciting new things to light over the coming months.
Our first priority right now, like the rest of our country, is to do our part to contain and eradicate Covid-19.
I’m grateful to be surrounded by an awesome team. Whilst this is a difficult time for some, it’s been amazing to see how our staff and coaches have worked together to support our athletes and to dive into new projects. I believe we’re also very fortunate to be in NZ, well led by what seems to be one of the world’s last remaining sane, responsible and competent governments.
No doubt, some in our community will be having a tough time as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and our current lockdown. Hopefully our network of paddling friends can provide some support, and the chance to get out on the water can be a light at the end of the tunnel for all of us!