By Joanne Ward-Jerrett
As the nomination window draws to a close for the 2018 World Paddle Awards (WPA), organizers are highlighting an exciting and important new nomination category: Fair Play.
The WPA Fair Play Award acknowledges the importance of fundamental values integral to all sports and relevant in everyday life. It references fair competition, respect, friendship, team spirit, solidarity and joy on and off the water. It’s not enough to win—triumph is measured by honesty and fairness, too.
"The World Paddle Awards is the right venue for Fair Play recognition,” says Rob van Bommel, President WPA. “It’s important to recognize excellence in sport, not just for the number of medals you might have won, but also to recognize the contributions athletes make by doing the right thing and playing fair.”
Wondering who to nominate? Here are a few examples:
Polish paddler Dariusz Bukowski — Recognized for his altruistic act during the 2017 Masters Canoe Marathon World Cup in Pietermarizburg, South Africa. Bukowski helped his injured rival Michael Stewart (South Africa) carry a boat in the last portage and relinquished his chance at a medal as a result.
WPA Academy member Ivan Lawler — During the 1990 Canoe Marathon World Championship in Copenhagen, Denmark, Ivan Lawler and his partner Graham Burns stopped to help first-placed Danes, Thor Nielsen and Lars Koch, who had damaged their rudder at the last portage. Because of this selfless act, Lawler and Burns forfeited the gold medal, finishing just one second behind the Danes.
To nominate a team or individual athlete for the Fair Play Award, nominators are invited to fill out the nomination form online at www.worldpaddleawards.com/nominate. Simply select the ‘Fair Play’ box in the list of disciplines from the drop-down menu. Nominations close on 28 October 2018.
A special thanks to Jozef Bejnarowicz who came up with the idea of including a Fair Play award at the World Paddle Awards.