Payed athletes in kayak: Good or bad

The different kayaking disciplines with a competition have usually been an amateur sport with very little people making any money from competing.
There are some exceptions with the Olympic disciplines like canoe sprint, but most sports tend to be run by volunteers, competed in by hobbyists and if they have any price money it’s not sufficient to make it worthwhile just for the money.

This can be a good or a bad thing.
First of all, we’ll take a look of where most money in our sport comes from.

Some disciplines are Olympic, gaining them subsidies in Belgium. Namely slalom and sprint are featured and thus receive government money to keep things going.
Since there is some media attention towards these disciplines, it’s also easier to find sponsors for the teams or athletes.
Some other disciplines, like freestyle, slalom or white water descent, have alternative sponsors like Red Bull. They tend to give a bigger amount of price support.
Disciplines like sea kayak and canoe polo have neither. If there is any price support, it usually comes from the inscription fees of the different teams.

Once you introduce payed teams or athletes, there is a whole set of problems you introduce to the sport.
First of all, there no longer is equality of gear. Sponsored teams will be able to have the best gear at any price. This can also be a good thing to the sport, sprouting innovation and change.
Secondly, paying teams or athletes will eventually result in more disputes, claims and perhaps introduce a form of jealousy between paid and unpaid competitors.

Some arguments in favor of paying teams is that the level of competition should increase once people have more time and money to spend in their sport.
Examples here are some countries, that pay their top canoe polo players, tend to grow a good foundation and eventually gain podium spots in the world champs.

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