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The beginnings of ECA

Although the International Canoe Federation ICF was formed in 1924 and canoeing as a sport appeared for first time at Olympic Games 1936 in Berlin, the European Canoe Association ECA was founded on December 11, 1993.

This happened in Rome, where delegations representing European Canoe Federations met together. On this meeting first statutes were approved, as well as the first officers were elected. The President became Albert Woods from the UK, Vice-Presidents became Corneliu Barsanescu from Romania and Jorn Cronberg from Denmark and Francesco Conforti was elected as a Secretary General.

The reason for relatively late estabilishment of ECA is due to the fact that in the past the International Canoe Federation organized also the European Championships.

The first championship ever organized by the ICF was an European Championships, which was held in 1933 in Prague. The program consisted of flatwater disciplines. Even if later a lot of World CHampionships followed, the ICF organized also European Flatwater Championships, which were held in Copenhagen (1934), Duisburg (1936), Gent (1957), Duisburg (1959), Poznan (1961), Jajce (1963), Snagov (1965), Duisburg (1967) and Moscow (1969). Despite flatwater disciplines, the ICF organized also European Championships in canoe sailing.

In the period 1957 – 1969 European Sprint Championships were organized in the even years, between the world championships. Starting from 1970 the World Championships are organized every year and so there was no place for European Championships under the auspicies of ICF.

It took some time, but the revival of European Championships finally happened 1993 in Rome. The first European Sprint Championships organized by ECA was held in Plovdiv, Bulgaria in 1997. Despite the extremely hot weather, when the temperature climbed to 38 oC, this turned out to be a success and since then ECA is organizing regular European Championships in every canoe discipline.