It’s the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, and all around the world members of our canoeing family are taking up Peace-through-Sport #Whitecard campaign.

This year’s theme is “Behind every #Whitecard, there is a story”, and nowhere is this more true than among our international paddling family.

Many come from communities where there were already significant challenges, even before Covid-19. The importance of sport in these communities is being felt more than ever.

18-year-old Levis Peter Karanja is a canoe slalom paddler from Kenya.

“Thanks to sport I have met and made new friends all over the world,” he said.

“The sport has brought people from all over the world together, from different backgrounds and without underestimating their capabilities.

“This has made me challenge myself to be better every day. To the community and the world it has created a platform where one can show their capabilities and help people earn through sport.”

When the pandemic hit Marianna Torres was in Europe preparing for the PanAmerican canoe slalom championships, her last chance to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Suddenly life for the 22-year-old was turned on its head. It’s also given her a chance to reflect on the role sport has played in her life.

It has changed the way I look at the world

“A five week trip (to Europe) turned into over a year trip. I couldn’t train in the Basque Country for around five months because of restrictions,” Torres said.

“It was a tough time, although I was able to stay mentally healthy and active. Sport has opened for me so many doors before, during and after the pandemic. 

“Sport unifies people, it guides new generations and promotes lifetime opportunities to those who commit to it.”

Canoe slalom and freestyle canoe has taken Torres around the world, giving her the opportunity to form friendships with people from different backgrounds and cultures. 

“It has changed the way I look at the world,” she said.

“Since I began meeting people from all over, I can confirm with my own skin how sports unify people and countries with completely different cultures and even between countries that are under conflict.

“Canoe slalom changed my life and from the bottom of my heart I hope thousands of people around the world get to have the same thought about sports.”

Kenya Levis Peter Karanja whitecard campaign

ICF President Jose Perurena whitecard campaign 2021

Canoe Slalom
Canoe Freestyle
#Whitecard #canoeslalom