British won in both competitions

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19 May , 2009 – The most exciting rafting race – H2H (head to head) took place today on the Bijeli Buk course , in the Vrbas canyon. The spectators at the Bijeli Buk course witnessed very interesting races. B&H men`s team were outpaddled by the current world champions - Brazil in the elimination race , whereas the girls from the B&H team beat the Bulgarians. Unfortunately , in the quarterfinals race they were defeated by the Russian girls.

The absolute winners in the H2H discipline are the British in both competitions.

The summary of results can be viewed on H2H men and H2H women.


19 May , 2009 – On the first day of the World Rafting Championships “Banjaluka 2009” the sprint race was held on the Bijeli Buk course. The current world champions , Brazilian team confirmed that they were favourites to win first place , whereas Chile came in second followed by Japan in third place. B&H team Una Akvarijus came in 17th in the competition of 32. In the women`s competition there was a slight surprise: The Dutch won whereas the Czech and Canadian teams ended up in second and third places respectively. B&H women`s team from the RC Kanjon achieved a great success by taking 8th place in the competition of 21 crews.


19 May 2009 - First competitions in the WRC “Banja Luka 2009” begin today. The first sprint race starts at 10:00 o`clock on the Bijeli Buk course. There are 33 teams in the men`s competition and 21 in women`s. Both B&H teams will start the race with number 19. BiH women`s team coach , Dragan Pastir said that the girls from the Rafting Club “Kanjon” would do their best to get into the top 10 even though they are very young and have been training for 5 – 6 months only. Zeljko Mitrovic , men`s team coach hopes his team will make it into the top 5. Second rafting discipline scheduled for today is H2H. Several buses are provided for spectators interested in watching the races at the courses. The bus will be doing rounds from the Centre ( Post Office ) to Krupa na Vrbasu. The competition starts at 10:00 o`clock and the bus rides will be available from 09:00 till 16:00 , every 20 minutes.


The opening ceremony with the motto: “Banjaluka – the Centre of the World” marked the beginning of the World Rafting Championships “Banjaluka 2009” last night. Over 15 000 citizens of Banja Luka and its visitors enjoyed the spectacular show organized by the Rafting Club “Kanjon” , the WRC organizer. The renowned sportsmen of the city of Banja Luka were at the head of the parade which included over 2000 participants: WRC competitors from 35 countries accompanied by the children , volunteers , team hosts , IRF officials , members of the Afrodizijak group and Chapy , the WRC mascot. The most distinguished sportsmen of Banja Luka sent a message to the world that Banja Luka is the city of peace by opening a box and sending the doves of peace to the sky. The parade was envisioned as a simulation of a rafting race in which one sport promoting the city of Banja Luka was presented at each gate. As a part of the show two parachutists , Nemanja Goronja and Boban Prodanovic did jumps holding the flags of the city of Banja Luka and the IRF. The performances of the women`s choir Banjalucanke and the singer Maja Tatic were followed by the anthem of the WRC performed by the children`s choir Little Rafters. The World Rafting Championship was ceremoniously opened by the Mayor of Banja Luka and Chairman of the Organizational Board , Dragoljub Davidovic. Davidovic said this sporting event had a great significance for the RS and B&H and hoped the pariticapants of the WRC would pass their impressions of the beauty of the rivers Vrbas and Tara to their countrymen. “This championship has more participants than the previous ones. It is also the best organized rafting championship so far , so I believe our friends will take with them fond memories of Banja Luka and the beauty of the Republic of Srpska” , said the Mayor. The RS Minister of Family , Youth and Sport , Proko Dragosavljevic said Banja Luka and the RS offer moments of happiness and joy at this great sports competition. “This is a sport for the brave and young , and I would like to congratulate to future winners and all the participants of this great event” , said Dragosavljevic expressing his hope that all competitors will have the best impressions of the Vrbas and Tara. The President of the International Rafting Federation , Rafael Gallo expressed his satisfaction with the organization of the event and thanked the Mayor and the citizens of Banja Luka for their hospitality. “I believe this will be one of the most interesting rafting championships” , Gallo said. He also mentioned Banja Luka set high organizational standards for future championships. The most spectacular part of the programme took place after the Mayor`s speech. The lights were switched off for 5 seconds and the mountaineer Petar Pecanac jumped of the roof of the department store Boska , starting the fireworks with a torch. After the ceremonious opening of the WRC the citizens could enjoy the concert of the Balkanika group. The organizer of the WRC 2009 is the Rafting Club Kanjon and the organization was supported by the RS Government , the city of Banja Luka and the Ministerial Council of B&H.


Slovenian team is deemed one of the main favourites for the gold medal at the forthcoming World Rafting Championships. The team members are very optimistic and their optimism is not unfounded. We started our training in September last year , we did a lot of fitness training and kayaking , whereas in the past three months we were practicing rafting. In the past couple of months we did training on a daily basis , so we expect good results” , says Marko Mihelic , the team captain. Mihelic speaks very favourably of the new illuminated rafting course in the Tijesno Canyon.We practiced in the Tijesno Canyon on May 1 and we did some training here today as well. I must admit the course is excellent , and we are thrilled with it. It is a remarkable experience to take a ride down an illuminated course. Last year in Austria we did a race at the illuminated course so we know what the feeling is like. We can hardly wait to start the night training on the Vrbas “ , said Mihelic. “Banjaluka is very nice and the people are so friendly. We often come here and are always glad to be back. That is why we participate in every international competition on the Vrbas” said the captain.


16 MAY , 2009 – Kianosh Mehrabi , Iranian who has been dealing with adventure tourism for seven years , came to the World Rafting Championships in Banja Luka Taking place from May 17 to May 24 on the rivers Vrbas and Tara , in order to take part in the IRF Congress and the judges and rafters` workshop. “I have come here to watch the competition , for I have been actively involved in promoting rafting for tourist purposes for seven years , not only in Iran , but Nepal and India as well where the cooperation with the local people is excellent , because the tourist rafting there is a source of income. I hope my visit here will result in founding the Rafting Committee in Iran. Rafting is still not a popular sport in Iran , but we have a great potential to develop tourist rafting. We are currently training the local people to use this potential” , says Mehrabi. He is planning to expand his activities to the Balkans and intends to use this opportunity to explore what Banja Luka and the rest of the country can offer to Iranian tourists. “My plan is to make a tour of Bosnia , so I believe you can expect first Iranian tourists at the beginning of September. I think this place is wonderful , especially the landscape. The Iranians love to see colourful vegetation , so I believe they would love your country very much. Your people are warm and openhearted , which is an advantage for the development of tourism” , says Mehrabi. Apart from the tourist rafting , Mehrabi is involved in the founding of the Iranian Rafting League. They have already formed the men`s and women`s teams but they haven`t come to the WRC because they are not members of the IRF yet. He hopes to learn a lot about the organization of a championship so he could use the knowledge to do the same in his country.


16 May , 2009 – The topic of the second press conference held today at the Press Centre in Petar Kocic Park was the official opening of the World Rafting Championships. The guests of the conference were: WRC Marketing Director , Dejan Radovic , Euro Blic company Brand Manager , Sanda Mesinovic , the Director of Media Centre , Goran Vucic and the Balkanika group manager and producer , Sasa Stamenkovic. It has been announced the WRC Opening Ceremony will consist of two parts. The first part , the parade , proceeding from the RS Government House to Krajina Square , is scheduled for 19:00 h. The parade is envisioned as a simulation of a rafting race in which one sport promoting the city of Banja Luka will be presented at each gate. The WRC Marketing Director , Dejan Radovic`s first words were: Banja Luka – the Centre of the World , which is the slogan of the World Rafting Championships. “ The programme of the official opening, taking place at Krajina Square , will be opened by the Banjalucanke choir followed by the children`s choir Little Rafters who will perform the anthem of the Championship. The first to address the audience will be Mr Aleksandar Pastir , the WRC Director” , said Radovic. After the performance of Maja Tatic , the audience will be addressed by the Mayor of Banja Luka – Dragoljub Davidovic , the President of the International Rafting Federation – Rafael Gallo and the RS Minister for Family , Youth and Sport – Proko Dragosavljevic. Petar Pecanac , a mountaineer , will perform a spectacular surprise for the spectators. The main media coverage will be done by the RTRS , whose involvement in the organization of the event is of no small importance. “Our spectators will be provided with live television broadcast of the canyon races , as well as the aerial photographs. For us this is a great challenge and a chance to show what we as the Public Broadcasting Service can do” , said the Media Centre Director , Goran Vucic and added that more than 100 journalists would be engaged in the broadcast of the competition. The Euro Blic magazine will be recording impressions and comments of the competitors and spectators. At the end of the show the audience will enjoy the concert of the Balkanika group , whose manager is thrilled with the organization and expects everyone to have a great time.

WRC 2009 Press Team


16 May , 2009 – The Canadian rafting teams joined the rest of the rafting crews who arrived in Banja Luka to take part in the World Rafting Championships. They held their first training on the Vrbas today in order to get ready for the competition as best as possible. “The first thing we saw here was the night slalom course , which is fantastic. We have never seen such an excellent course and we can hardly wait to start the race ; it will be fantastic” , said Valerie Pilot , one of the members of the Canadian women`s team. The rafters form the Wicked Liquid Club , the Canadian men`s team , have been together in the same team for 7 years. Last year two new members joined the Club. “Rafting is a very popular sport in our country , especially in the east; we have been together for years but this is the first time we represent Canada in an international competition. We trained very hard , so we believe we will make it into the top 10 , but it would be great if we won the gold. This is our first visit to Europe , we don`t know the rafters from European teams very well , so any kind of surprise is possible” , says Jonathan Stairs , the Canadian team captain. The Canadian competitors were pleasantly surprised by the beauty of the river , even though they are used to do training on much bigger and colder rivers. They also revealed their intention to prolong their stay and take a tour around the country.


15 May , 2009 – The Prime minister of the Republic of Srpska , Milorad Dodik visited today the Rafting Centre “Kanjon” in Karanovac and the slalom course in the Tijesno Canyon. He used this opportunity to point out that without enthusiasm of the Rafting Club “Kanjon” members there would be no World Championship. “This is a very important event. The RS Government helped in every way possible and we are here today to see how the preparations of the World Championship are running , for it is our wish to present ourselves in the best possible light. I must say I`m impressed with what has been done , bearing in mind this is a rather demanding task to do. Without the enthusiasm and love for this sport , none of this would have been done. We will always take pride in the fact we succeeded in organizing such a big championship” , said Dodik. Together with the RS Prime minister there were also Minister for Family , Youth and Sport , Proko Dragosavljevic and the Mayor of Banja Luka , Dragoslav Davidovic. High executive officials of the RS Government and the city of Banja Luka accompanied by the President of the RC “Kanjon” and the Director of the WRC “Banjaluka2009” , Aleksandar Pastir visited also the race course in the Tijesno Canyon.


15 May , 2009 – At the World Rafting Championships “Banjaluka 2009” there will be 35 teams from 5 continents; over 600 competitors will be competing for the winning title. The official Opening ceremony at Krajina Square on Sunday will mark the beginning of the World Rafting Championships which is to take place at the rivers Vrbas and Tara from May 17 to May 24 this year. The mayor of Banja Luka and the Chairman of the Organizational Board of the World Rafting Championships , Dragoljub Davidovic pointed out that everything`s ready for the beginning of the biggest sports event in B&H in 2009. “As the Mayor of Banja Luka I have had a number of opportunities to be a part of many sports , cultural and other public events , but the organization of the World Rafting Championship has been the most challenging and demanding one. The very fact the competition takes place on two rivers and covers a large space speaks for itself. However , we succeeded in our intention to make the city on the Vrbas River the place which would attract the attention of the whole world . This championship will not last seven days only , for its positive impacts will reflect on the region much longer. I would like to thank all the people and institutions of the Republic of Srpska ; without their help this event would have been much more difficult to organize. I am proud and happy to be able to say the whole work was done on a professional level and the championship’s ready to begin” , Davidovic said. Diogen Kubat , WRC Press Centre Director , stressed out the central Press Centre would be set up at the Music Pavilion in “Petar Kocic” Park. All the details related to the WRC will be available to the accredited journalists at the Press Centre which will be open from 08:00 till 20:00 h. All those journalists who fail to get the information during the day will be able to get informed by the duty services from 20:00 onwards. The second Press Centre will be located at the Rafting Centre “ Kanjon” in Karanovac and the journalists will be able to get all the information there as well” , said Kubat. The Director of the Championships and the President of the Rafting Club “Kanjon” , Aleksandar Pastir said that 55 teams (600 competitors) from 35 countries were expected to take participation in the Championship. This is the biggest and the best organized rafting championship so far. The International Rafting Federation is very satisfied with what has been done so far , especially with the set up of the illumination for the night downriver race. After the World Rafting Championships we will start another project: nomination of rafting for the status of the Olympic sports discipline. More than half of the participants have already arrived in Karanovac and we expect all the teams to be present at the Opening ceremony”, Pastir said. Milenko Cvijanovic , Executive Director of the Marketing Department in Telekom Srpske ( WRC general sponsor) , said that M:tel was satisfied with the cooperation they had with the host of the WRC. “M:tel recognized the importance of this project and joined the organizers in preparation of the greatest sports competition in the region in the past 15 years. Apart from financial assistance we provided free internet communication in the two press centres , hotel Bosna and free mobile communication for 150 members of the Organizational team. We are especially proud of the optic systems which will enable live TV broadcast of the competition” , Cvijanovic said.


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