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Sailing not included on Paris 2024 Paralympic Games Sports Programme

by World Sailing 14 Sep 2018 09:24 BST 14 September 2018
2.4 Norlin OD sailing at the Rio Paralympic Games © Sailing Energy / World Sailing

World Sailing is shocked and disappointed to learn that sailing has not been included by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

The decision came (13 September 2018) following an IPC Board meeting earlier this week in Madrid, Spain.

Sailing's application was submitted ahead of the 9 July 2018 deadline and World Sailing have been informed by the IPC that Sailing is not in compliance with one or more of the core criteria for Games inclusion as stipulated in the IPC Handbook.

World Sailing will meet with the IPC's leadership as soon as possible to further understand the details of the decision taken and the analysis by the IPC management team.

"We worked tirelessly to ensure sailing met the IPC criteria and our application was of a high standard and everyone at World Sailing is deeply saddened by the news from the IPC," said Andy Hunt, World Sailing CEO.

"Sailing is one of the most inclusive sports and caters for all athletes. Regardless of their classification, sailing's athletes compete on a level playing field and we have reiterated this message to the IPC.

"So much has been achieved over the past few years in developing Para World Sailing and we will continue to provide a programme of events for the sailors that compete regularly at a national and international level."

Sailing was removed from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Sports Programme in January 2015 for failing to meet worldwide reach criteria.

The IPC Handbook states, "For Paralympic Games Only individual sports and disciplines widely and regularly practiced in a minimum of thirty-two (32) countries and three (3) IPC regions may be considered for inclusion in the Paralympic Games."

Following this news, World Sailing released a strategic plan for 2017-2020, outlining strategic goals and strategies that were adopted by World Sailing to gain re-inclusion into the Paralympic Games sports programme.

Read the strategic plan [PDF].

Para World Sailing has had a period of accelerated growth through initiatives such as the Paralympic Development Programme (PDP) that culminated in more than 80 sailors from 37 nations and five continents racing across three events at the 2017 Para World Sailing Championships.

Paralympic Development Programme clinics have ensured continued development of Para World Sailing on all continents and continue to help increase participants' knowledge and understanding of the sport.

At the 2018 Para World Sailing Championships, which will be held in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, USA from 16-22 September, a record 101 sailors from 42 nations have registered to race across four events. A PDP clinic is currently being held ahead of the Championships with sailors from China, Indonesia, Latvia, Samoa, Thailand and Chinese Taipei all receiving World Sailing support.

At the 2017 and 2018 World Championships, World Sailing demonstrated that it met and exceeded the worldwide reach criteria and worked in close partnership with Member National Authorities, Class Associations, Event Organisers and sailors to ensure the best possible application to the IPC.

Further development of Para World Sailing has included the introduction of a representative in the Athletes' Commission. Jens Kroker was appointed earlier in the year. And at the next Sailing World Championships, set to be held in The Hague, The Netherlands in 2022, the Para World Sailing Championships will be integrated for the first time.

Despite this enormous setback for the discipline, World Sailing will continue to support the sailors as well as grow and promote Para World Sailing globally.

Update from the Royal Yachting Association in the UK

The RYA is dismayed at the announcement from the International Paralympic Committee that sailing will not feature in the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

The IPC said that sailing, which was dropped as a Paralympic sport following Rio 2016, had not met criteria "in a number of areas" and would not be put forward for further consideration. The announcement has come as a shock to the RYA, which has worked tirelessly to support World Sailing's bid for re-inclusion.

Sarah Treseder, Chief Executive of the RYA, said: "We are deeply disappointed that the IPC has made this decision despite all the progress and the unique platform sailing provides for true equality and inclusion. The decision is a real blow for so many aspiring and talented sailors for whom competing in Paris has been their dream, not to mention all those who would have been inspired to get on the water by sailing's inclusion.

"It is a really sad day for the sport. The RYAhas worked closely with World Sailing in support of their bid for re-inclusion and we will now take time to reflect on the IPC's decision."

Great Britain is among the most successful nations in Paralympic sailing. Helena Lucas won the nation's first gold medal in sailing at London 2012 in the 2.4mR class, and followed it up with a bronze at Rio 2016. Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell got bronze medals at London 2012 and Rio 2016 in the SKUD class.

Regardless of the announcement the RYA remains committed to supporting all disabled sailors through its ground-breaking Sailability community programme. Most recently it has supported para athletes in their bids for victory at the Parasailing World Championships in Sheboygan, USA, which take place from 16-22 September.

"We will guarantee the excellent work of RYASailability continues to ensure that disabled sailing is supported from grass roots to top-level racing," adds Treseder. "The Parasailing World Championships are about to commence with a record number of sailors and countries taking part including a strong British contingent. We wish everyone a very successful regatta."

Golf, karate, Para dance sport and powerchair football were also struck from the list of potential sports at Paris 2024, while bobsleigh was dropped from the 2022 Winter Paralympics despite being provisionally approved.

Update from the USA's governing body for sailing

US Sailing is disappointed to learn of the International Paralympic Committee's (IPC) decision not to include Sailing as part of the 2024 Paralympic Games Sports Program. The decision was made on Thursday, September 13 at an IPC Board meeting in Madrid, Spain.

World Sailing recently reported that they were informed by the IPC that Sailing is not in compliance with one or more of the core criteria for Games inclusion. World Sailing will soon meet with the IPC's leadership to further understand the details of the decision and the analysis by the IPC management team.

Sailing was removed from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Sports Program in January of 2015 for failing to meet worldwide reach criteria.

"We are very disappointed in this outcome, and the sailing community eagerly awaits more details on the IPC's decision before determining potential next steps," said Jack Gierhart, Chief Executive Officer of US Sailing. "Regardless of the future of sailing in the Paralympics, US Sailing will continue to foster opportunities for sailors with disabilities to sail and race at all levels of both domestic and international competitions and help organize and support clinics and other educational offerings for these inspiring athletes. We will also continue to drive awareness about the benefits of sailing for individuals with disabilities and provide support and resources to sailing organizations interested in implementing adaptive sailing programming to their curriculum."

World Sailing also reports that Para World Sailing has had a period of accelerated growth through initiatives such as the Paralympic Development Program (PDP) that culminated in more than 80 sailors from 37 nations and five continents racing across three events at the 2017 Para World Sailing Championships.

The U.S. has a total of eight entries/nine sailors in competition at the upcoming 2018 Para World Sailing Championships in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, from September 16-22. A record 101 sailors from 42 nations have registered to race across four events and participate in a PDP clinic which precedes the Championships.

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