Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Canoe Slalom - Rules

Each gate consists of two poles hanging from a wire strung across the river. There are 18-25 (although nowadays there are more often near 18 than 25) numbered gates in a course and they are colored as either green (downstream) or red (upstream), indicating the direction they must be negotiated. Upstream gates are often placed in eddies, where the water is flat or moving slightly upstream; the paddler eddies out from the main current and paddles upstream through the gate. Most slalom courses take 80 to 120 seconds to complete for the fastest paddlers. Depending on the level of competition, difficulty of course, degree of water turbulence and ability of the other paddlers, times can go up to 200 seconds. Each competitor has two runs on the course, and the final result is based either on the faster run (in smaller races or lower division races) or the sum of the two runs (in national and international competitions). In international competitions (World Cups, World Championships, Olympic Games) each competitor does two runs in the qualification round, the times are added to give the qualification result. Depending on the number of participants of the event, 10 to 40 boats make it through to the semi-final; this consists of one run on a different course. The fastest 10 boats per event make it through to the final, where they navigate the semi-final course once more and times of semi-final and final run are added to give the final result. If the competitor's boat, paddle or body touches either pole of the gate, a time penalty of two seconds is added. If the competitor misses a gate completely, displaces it by more than 45 degrees, goes through the gate upside-down, or goes through it in the wrong order, a 50 second penalty is given.

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