The 1st European Aqua Walking Challenge organized under the aegis of the European Ramblers Association and implemented in Rosas, Catalonia by the Federació d’Entitats Excursionistes de Catalunya – FEEC took place on September 23, 24 and 25, 2022 in honor of EUROPEAN WALKING DAY (September 24).
Four European federal teams composed of a maximum of 8 female and 8 male athletes with the possibility of having 2 substitutes per gender competed
– FFRandonnée – Fédération Française de la Randonnée pédestre
– FIE – Federazione Italiana Escursionismo
– Wanderverband Bayern
on the official races
– 50m solo single paddle (M/W)
– 200m barehanded pair (M/W)
– 800m barehanded pair (M/W)
– 4x50m barehanded relay (mixed)
– Aqua Beach Trail solo (M/W)
The results of this first edition show a beautiful domination of FRANCE which won all the gold medals! It deserves the PERFORMANCE AWARD with a beautiful highlight of all the regions of France since the French selection was constituted on the basis of the best athletes resulting from the last French championship (June 2022). Thus the PACA, OCCITANIA, NOUVELLE AQUITAINE, PAYS DE LA LOIRE and BRETAGNE regions have provided their best athletes. The staff of 7 people also allows to highlight the Hauts-de-France with notably the national referee of the FFRANDONNÉE, the legendary Hugues ABIS, who has been designated 1st European referee.
ITALY comes in 2nd position. Involved in the Mediterranean circuit since 2018 the FIE delegation, exclusively made up of athletes from the 1st club in Italy, Alassio Wave Walking – Marcia Acquatica CNAM, deserves the MOBILIZATION AWARD with a fan zone of 25 supporters who traveled by bus from Alassio accompanied by members of the other two Ligurian clubs, Marcia Acquatica Andora and Diano Acqua Walking. An epic journey that lasted 17 hours with a bus that broke down twice did not demoralize the Italian athletes who showed great tenacity, solidarity and technical mastery.
CATALONIA is in 3rd place. Arrived in 2019 on the Mediterranean circuit, the Catalan federation has focused on its federal structuring setting up training, a Catalan championship and a Catalan cup. During the 1st European Aqua Walking Challenge, the Catalan athletes, selected on the basis of their performances on the Catalan circuit, came up against stronger opponents than them this time, but they did not say their last word! They have observed, analyzed and we know that they learn very quickly. Their solidarity and team spirit with beautiful gestures of fair play make them deserve the AWARD OF OLYMPIC SPIRIT.
The BAVERIA came in 4th place with a small delegation of 8 athletes from the Wanderverband Bayern, all from the Wasserwandern in Deutschland / Europe Aqua Walking collective led by Martina Guthmann. They took up all the challenges, participating in all the events without giving up. They were all brave and smiling finishers and were acclaimed by all. They deserve the EUROPEAN SPIRIT AWARD because they were there to defend the geographical and cultural dimension of this sporting event.
Thus the final classification is as follows
1st European AQUA WALKING challenge
1 – FRANCE : 7 gold – 3 silver – 1 bronze
2 – ITALY : 0 gold – 3 silver – 1 bronze
3 – CATALONIA : 0 gold – 1 silver – 6 bronze
4 – BAVIERA : all finishers
1st EUROPEAN AQUA BEACH TRAIL 2022
1 – FRANCE : 2 gold – 2 silver – 1 bronze
2 – CATALONIA: 0 gold – 0 silver – 1 bronze
3 – ITALY : two 4th places tied
4 – BAVIERA : all finishers
The European Ramblers Association thanks the FEEC, a pioneer federation which had the courage to launch the organization of a new event which will be used as a reference sports model. It has put all its heart and love for the sport into it!
The president of the ERA-EWV-FERP, Mr. Boris Micic, was present during the whole event and honored the local authorities who were strongly mobilized. The town hall of Rosas, the sports department, the local club Cabirols, Associació Excursionista de Roses which provided most of the volunteers (17) deserve a nice ovation!
The European refereeing body, composed of 4 Catalan referees, an Italian referee and a French referee worked tirelessly to ensure that the rules were respected.
The Catalan medical assistance was able to take care of the only athlete who was injured, Sophie Chipon. After one hour of massages, she had to give up and abandon the race because she could no longer use her left leg due to a tear in her calf that occurred when she crossed the finish line of the quarter-finals of the 200m pair.
The opening ceremony on Friday (at the theater of Rosas), the medal ceremony on Saturday (at the Bay Hotel) and the closing ceremony on Sunday (on the beach) were all organized according to an official protocol that allowed to magnify with emotion the event, the athletes, the authorities and the sport.
The media coverage of the event was well taken care of on different media (print, radio, social networks and television).
From now on, everyone has their eyes turned to the future. Three questions animate us:
1 – When and where will the 2nd European Aqua Walking Challenge take place and which non-European delegations will be invited? Answer on October 30th 2022, official dead line.
2 – Will AQUA WALKING be part of the 3rd Mediterranean Beach Games in Heraklion? Answer before Christmas ?
3 – Will the Mediterranean Aqua Walking Tour start again? Answer in January 2023 ?
Patience and once again
Congratulations to the organizers and in particular to Josep Casanovas vice-president of the FEEC and member of the AQUA WALKING STEERING COMMITTEE and Jordi Merino president of the FEEC for all the energy devoted to the realization of this first!
Congratulations to the members of the AQUA WALKING STEERING COMMITTEE,
Bravo to the federations,
Bravo to the athletes,
Bravo to the volunteers,
Bravo to the referees,
Bravo to the spectators,
Bravo to all those who believe in the international future of AQUA WALKING!
See pictures from the competition here: