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Canoeing in la Seu d'Urgell
La Seu d’Urgell is a small town in the Pyrenees, standing where the rivers Segre and Valira meet. The river Segre rises in France and the Valira in Andorra. La Seu d’Urgell with its 13.300 inhabitants, is a market and service centre for the Catalan mountain region and a tourist stop-off point.
The presence of sport of wild water canoeing in the village dates back to 1964 with the set-up of the local club and the International Kayak-Canoeing week in 1972. Apart from many Spanish Championships, International competitions were held in the area. For example, Slalom competitions in the European Cup were held in 1980 and 1986, as well as, Slalom competitions in the World Junior Championships in 1988.

With the original idea of the Olympic Games for Barcelona 1992, thoughts turned to a reintroduction of the wild water slalom discipline in the official sports programme. In October 1986 Barcelona was chosen by IOC to stage the Games of the XXV Olympiad and its candidature dossier contained the proposal to stage the slalom competitions on the river Valira in La Seu d’Urgell.

From then onwards, plans began to take shape, thanks to the joined efforts of COOB’92, the ICF and the Spanish Federation. In Stockholm, in April 1987, the Executive Board of the IOC approved the inclusion of slalom canoeing (for the first time in the sports programme since 1972 when in Augsburg, on the Munich Olympic Games, it had been included as exhibition sport) with the choice of the artificial course in the Parc Olímpic del Segre as the competition venue.

The Parc Olímpic del Segre has been leading the development of competition slalom venues in the following matters:
  • World first pumping station
  • World first closing circle concept ( U shape)
  • World first canoe boat lift
  • World unique washing and drying equipment
In 1993, the IOC awarded the facilities a prize for its integration of sport and environment. Later on, in 1995, it was awarded a bronze prize by the International Association for Sport and Leisure Facilities (IAKS) for its post-Olympic utilization, interesting engineering execution and the differentiated landscape design.

The 1992 Olympic Games canoe slalom competitions was a success. Since that event a significant progress has been made in this Olympic discipline. The Spanish organization has continued to contribute to the promotion of this sport in the 1999 Slalom World Championships, which was the Olympic selection event for Sydney 2000 O.G.

ICF has had confidence in La Seu d’Urgell Organising Committee on 9 World Cup events held on 1993, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006. Again ICF has appointed La Seu as one of the 2008 Slalom World Ranking in Pre-World competition held in July.

During all these years, the Organising Committee of these ICF events has been applying innovations on the Slalom Competition Results process and their display:
  • 1981   First computer calculation in an International event
  • 1982   Telephone transmission for judges
  • 1991   First computer penalty system for judging (SEIKO)
  • 1992   International global results data in Olympiads (Amic, IBM)
  • 1996   First Internet Results presentations (SVT)
  • 1998   First video camera in internet and life transmission (SVT)
  • 1998   First video screen for spectators
  • 2003   First CD digital distribution of Results
  • 2008   First results sent by SMS
For the next 2010 ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup - La Seu d'Urgell we keep open to the usage of the latest technology available for the benefit of the competition. For instance:
  • Video cameras to help athletes training
  • A video camera system to assist judges
  • An individual split time analysis with transponders
  • The handicapped access will be improved
  • New sport fitness area will be constructed (200 m2).
  • Additionally, the Parc Olímpic del Segre will be renewed.
Consejo Superior de Deportes Consell Català de l'Esport - Generalitat de Catalunya Diputació de Lleida Ajuntament de la Seu d'Urgell Federació Catalana de Piragüisme Copyright Federación Española de Piragüismo 2010