Sport on the Internet

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The Independent Online
WILD WATER racing is a branch of canoeing that does not attract much media attention. If, for instance, you want to follow the action in the final races of the world cup held in New Zealand this weekend, forget teletext. You're either looking at a long-haul flight to the South Island's Kawarau River or a quick expedition into cyberspace.

Down River's Home Page has details of the physical locations of the event including accommodation and tourist information.

However, if you just want to check out how the Brits are doing (or indeed who the Brits in the event are) try wild water racing In The UK. It's a no-nonsense site that eschews Java, frames and any unnecessary technological sophistication. Which is excellent news, it means it's quick to load and easy to navigate around.

Results in all classes from the first round at Turangi and Taupo, on the North Island, are on site. Yesterday's second round results at Murchison should be posted by now. Early on, the best chance of a medal looks to be in the C2 (doubles) where Slade Warne and Nick Redshaw have managed a third and a fourth, albeit in four-boat races.

If you fancy honing your understanding of what wild water racing is, there's an online introduction on site that explains what happens, the race categories, and who to get in touch with if you want to try the sport out yourself.

The British Canoe Union's Web pages are a resource to explore the wider world of canoeing. There's a Wild water racing page, but also entries on disciplines such as surf canoeing, slalom, sprinting and canoe polo - in which Great Britain won silver at last year's World Cup.

Unsurprisingly the BCU is strong on information about getting started in the sport with details of where to go, what gear is needed, and what books, videos, magazines and official courses are available.

The Devizes to Westminster canoe and kayak race will be starting in Wiltshire at 7am on Good Friday. If you want to find out what's going on in the countdown to the start of the 125 mile race, the official Web site will give you a paddler's perspective on events - and pictures going back to 1996 if you visit the online gallery. The complete and unabridged rules are worth scrutinising, they'll leave you in no doubt as to how much chocolate it's compulsory for competitors to stow under their spray decks.

They don't seem to have much to say on the subject of water quality in the Avon and Kennet canal or the Thames. But the National Water Sports Centre at Holme Pierrepont, Nottingham, is more forthcoming on the subject.

A few years ago canoeists started complaining of "Trent belly" after going through the white water slalom facility there. Not a good advert for the courses on offer. The officials have put online what they did about it and what they're still doing about it. There are also details of all the other water sports the Centre has to offer.

Site Addresses

Down River's Home Page

Wild Water Racing In The UK

Wild Water Racing - An Introduction

British Canoe Union

National Water Sports Centre

Devizes to Westminster Canoe And Kayak Race