Ceska Posta issued a stamp to celebrate the 2013 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships is taking place in the Troja Centre, Prague, Czech Republic. The championships will be running on 11-15 September 2013. At the same time, the hosting Czech Canoe Union will celebrate 100 years of its existence.
Ships have sailed through Czech rivers through the ages. They were used for trade, travelling and hunting expeditions. One of the first documented sources mentions the Czech knight Zachar of Pasineves who brought a kayak from Scandinavia and used it for travel.
The establishment of an independent Czechoslovakia, in 1918, boosted the development of water sports. The Canoe Union of the Czech Kingdom was reorganized into the Czech Canoe Union and focused mainly on water tourism. Its activities involved the creation of new camps alongside rivers and the organization of various water sport competitions.
In 1925, the Czech Canoe Union became the fifth member of the International Canoe Federation. The Czech representatives initiated the first European Championships in Prague in 1933. Following intensive negotiations and the successful championships, canoeing sports became a part of the Olympics during the 1936 Berlin games. The Czech speed canoeists achieved great success by World War II. In recent years, the two-time Olympic champion Martin Doktor made the greatest contribution to the success of Czech canoeism.
A new discipline, water slalom, started to emerge in the 1930s. The first Czechoslovak competition took place in 1937 in Brno. One of the most successful Czech slalomists in recent time is the two-time Olympic champion Stepanka Hilgertova.
Presently, the Czech Canoe Union has three branches; each works independently and is fully responsible for its own development. These are speed canoeing, white-water canoeing, and water tourism.
The achievements of Czech canoeing sports also include the privilege to organize European and world championships: Canoe Sprint World Championships in 1958; Canoe Slalom World Championships in 1967; Junior Canoe Sprint World Championships in 1993; Junior Canoe Slalom World Championships in 1996; European Canoe Slalom Championships in 1998; and Canoe Marathon World Championships in 2002.