Paddlers from all disciplines and backgrounds were honoured last night at the 2021 Canoeing Ireland Awards. At the virtual ceremony, Awards were presented for a diverse range of achievements across paddlesports in 2020. While 2020 was a difficult year for all sports, Canoeing Ireland was extremely lucky that some athletes had the opportunity to compete internationally, and to have a small number of domestic events around the country. In a challenging year it was even more important to celebrate these fantastic achievements, and to celebrate the passion and hard work which was put in to keeping things afloat.
At the ceremony itself, Awards were presented across 6 categories –
- Community Impact Award. For work promoting our sport while having a positive impact on the local community.
Winner – Martina Slevin. Martina has been a driving force behind creating opportunities for women to participate in paddlesports, facilitating training courses for women, and running brilliant charity events.
- Team of the Year. The best team performance from the 2020 competition season.
Winner – C1 Men Canoe Slalom Team. Awarded for the incredible performance at the 2020 European Championships where the team took home a silver medal. Irelands first in Team racing.
- COVID Response Award. For outstanding service to the sport in facilitating a safe return to activity.
Winner – Shane Henderson. Shane voluntarily rolled out a COVID hygiene training programme for Canoeing Ireland members as well as producing COVID screening questionnaires for use in clubs across the country.
- Athlete of the Year. The outstanding athlete from the 2020 season.
Winner – Liam Jegou. Liam’s historic World Cup Gold Medal at the ICF World Cup in Pau was the deciding factor in the awarding of Athlete of the Year. The first Gold Medal won by an Irish Athlete in the C1 Men category.
- Event of the Year. While every event held in 2020 was an achievement in its own right, Event of the Year was awarded to the event which best captured the passion for paddlesports. The winner was chosen by public vote.
Winner – Rape Crisis 10K Charity Paddle. In aid of Rape Crisis Midwest, this event also acted as an opportunity to get people out on the water for their first time in a boat. The organisers also hosted a series of pre-event courses for women and beginner paddlers.
- Volunteer of the Year. The most popular and highly contested category each year, this award is presented to a volunteer who has best served our sport through their passion, selfless work, and continued commitment to our sport.
Winner – Patricia McCormack. Patricia has been a long serving volunteer in Canoe Polo. Patricia is a founding member of Kilcock Canoe Polo Club, has served on the Canoe Polo National Committee and has many times travelled with the National Team as coach and manager. After her own diagnosis with cancer, Patricia launched the ‘Mahon Cup’, a fundraising event for cancer charities which brought together women polo players of all ages for a fun day of competition.
The opportunity to celebrate the wins from a roller-coaster year in 2020 was enjoyed massively by both the organisers and attendees. 2021 is shaping up to be an even bigger and better year for paddlesports, promising a lot more to celebrate when the 2022 Awards roll around.
The full recording of the ceremony is available on our YouTube channel here –