Tunceli’s Munzur Valley to host World Rafting Championship
The World Rafting Championship of 2019 will be hosted in the Munzur Valley of the eastern province of Tunceli between June 8 and 13, 2019, the Tunceli Governor’s Office said in a written statement on Dec. 18.
Munzur River’s 35 kilometer-long route is now an international rafting parkour following the finalization of Turkish officials’ applications to the World Rafting Federation (WRF), with the efforts of Tuncay Sonel, the governor and deputy mayor of Tunceli, and the Turkish Rafting Federation paying off.
“Last May, the first Turkey Rafting Championship was organized in Tunceli. Around 500 sportsmen and technical committees had participated. The event contributed very much to the development of rafting in our province and promoted Tunceli,” Sonel said.
“Now, the World Rafting Championship will be held in Tunceli. It is an honor that such an event is being organized in our province. I hope that all will be well for our country and our province,” he added.
During May 23-27, the Turkey Rafting Championship was organized in Tunceli. Apart from rafting, Tunceli also hosted another watersport contest, the Turkey Water Jet and Flyboard Championship during Oct. 27-28.
“Since 2013, Turkey has achieved many things regarding rafting sports. Our efforts to continue this success are ongoing. On Jun 8-13, 2019, we will make calls to the whole world from Tunceli,” said Fikret Yardımcı, WRF vice president and president of the Turkish Rafting Federation.
On Oct. 7, the WRF and Turkish Rafting Federation signed an agreement in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, stating that the Turkish Rafting Federation will develop and manage a training program for raft guides and coaches.
Munzur Valley National Park is the largest and most biodiverse national park in Turkey. Controversial plans for the establishment of five hydroelectric plants (HES) and four dam projects in the Munzur Valley were cancelled on Dec. 17 with the ruling of an Ankara administrative court.
Locals of Tunceli and environmentalists have been protesting the planned dam and hydroelectric projects in the Munzur Valley. They say such projects would not only damage nature in the national park, but also submerge areas considered sacred by Alevis, who constitute the majority of the population in Tunceli.