London wins bid to host 2015 canoe slalom worlds

By Ollie WilliamsBBC Sport
London 2012 slalom canoe course
The course cost £31 million and was opened by the Princess Royal

London has won its bid to host the 2015 Canoe Slalom World Championships - the first major event to be confirmed for an Olympic venue after the 2012 Games.

The Lee Valley course, host to the 2012 canoe slalom events, beat a bid from Bourg-Saint-Maurice in the French Alps.

London's Olympic venues failed in bids to host the 2015 World Athletics and 2014 Hockey World Cup.

"I look forward to welcoming the canoeing world to the UK in 2015," said Olympic minister Hugh Robertson.

"This is the first major sporting event confirmed for an Olympic venue after the Games and will be part of the legacy from London 2012."

UK Sport's chief executive, Liz Nicholl, said the event would "provide a magnificent platform for the sport in this country" while the British Canoe Union's Paul Owen promised his sport would deliver "a fantastic event, providing an excellent opportunity to showcase our sport worldwide".

The Lee Valley White Water Centre was the first brand new London 2012 venue to be completed, in December 2010, at a cost of £31m.

Britain's top slalom canoeists have had exclusive use of the course since then, but Lee Valley opens to the public - and foreign rivals - on 22 April.

Bringing major events in Olympic sports to Britain after the Games have concluded is a cornerstone of the London 2012 organising committee's ambition to deliver what it calls a "legacy" after the Olympics.

London 2012 slalom canoe course
The Lee Valley course will open to the general public on 21 April

But previous attempts to secure the sporting side of that legacy have failed, most notably London's bid to stage the 2015 World Championships in Athletics.

The city was forced to withdraw from that bidding process in November 2010, as continued uncertainty over the future of the Olympic Stadium meant the bid team could not even guarantee a running track would remain in place.

One week later, London lost a bid to bring the men's and women's Hockey World Cups to the Olympic Park in 2014.

Both sports have promised to fight back - UK Athletics says it will bid for the 2017 World Championships, and England Hockey has told BBC Sport a world event in Britain in 2015 or 2016 is "pretty likely".

But slalom canoeing is the first sport past the post with a major championships at an Olympic venue.

Britain has twice previously staged the Slalom Worlds, in 1981 near the Welsh town of Bala and at Nottingham's Holme Pierrepont course in 1995, which also staged the 2009 European Championships.

Recent British Olympic medallists in slalom canoeing include David Florence, who won silver at the Beijing Games in 2008, and Helen Reeves, who won bronze in Athens four years earlier.

Reeves was part of the British bid team in Paris, where world governing body the International Canoe Federation (ICF) announced its decision.

She won one of her two world championship medals at 2015 rival course Bourg-Saint-Maurice as a member of a British squad that took K1 team bronze there in 2002.

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