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Rostock to host Inclusion World Championship for Sailing

by World Sailing 24 Aug 09:27 BST 24-28 August 2022
Inclusion World Championship for Sailing © Sven Jurgensen

Germany's Baltic Coast destination city of Rostock is all set to host the Inclusion World Championship for Sailing on 24-28 August on behalf of World Sailing.

The city - officially known as the Hanseatic and University City of Rostock - hosts some of the world's largest maritime festivals attracting millions of tourists every year.

So it is no surprise that this year's Championship will take centre stage in the world-famous harbour, popular with the city's 200,000 inhabitants and summer visitors.

A total of 27 teams from Austria, Colombia, Czechia, Germany, Poland, Netherlands and Thailand will compete on the SV/14 class with sailors paired purposefully to put para and inclusive sailing in the limelight - sailors with disabilities will sail with able-bodied partners.

"Everyone can sail, regardless of any physical limitations we experience on land - by pairing teams this way, we are highlighting that sailing is one of the most inclusive sports on the planet," explained Heiko Kröger, two-time Paralympic medalist, 12-time world champion and winner of the first Inclusion World Championship for Sailing in 2020 with partner Clemens Kraus, one of Germany's most well-known Para Sailing campaigners.

Kröger, born without a left forearm, will be competing once again with Kraus, aiming to re-claim the Championship podium after finishing second last year.

"Many of us win open regattas competing against able bodied athletes - this is sailing, and this is why this sport is so unique in the world of para sports," continued Kröger, who as member of the World Sailing Athletes' Commission has been taking every opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of para sailing.

"The message we are sending to everyone watching this year's Championship in Rostock is also the central message of World Sailing's bid to reinstate sailing into the Paralympic Games for LA28 - no matter what your physical constraint may be on land, on the water you can do much, much more and this is why we see such a wide range of disabilities in sailing."

The Inclusion World Championship for Sailing has the support of Germany at state level, with Stefanie Drese, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania's Minister of Social Affairs, Health and Sport as patron.

"Top events like this have a model effect for inclusion in sports and in society, and are a flagship for Rostock and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state," explained Drese.

"This is why I am proud that Rostock, with its excellence in sailing, has been chosen as the venue for this top sporting event.

"I hope that the Inclusion World Championship for Sailing will give many clubs in the state a spark to offer sports activities for people with disabilities."

The Inclusion World Championship for Sailing will be broadcast live to spectators watching from the banks of the Warnow River estuary with expert commentary. The Association for Sports for the Disabled and Rehabilitation Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (VBRS) will also be organising on-site trial sailing for children with impairments alongside the Championship.

"Inclusive sports are something special and enormously important to develop a real sense of community in our urban society," said Dr. Chris von Wrycz Rekowski, First Deputy Mayor of the Hanseatic and University City of Rostock.

"We all need to sharpen our perception in relation to people with impairments in order to actually enable social participation - this event is a great opportunity to do this."

When the athletes from seven nations line up on the start line on 24 August this will be the third time yachting photographer Sven Jürgensen - who is also founder and chief organiser of the Helga Cup, a regatta exclusively for women's teams, and several wider inclusive events - has brought a team of like-minded sailing experts together to organise the Inclusion World Championships.

"Every year, the event has grown - now in 2022, we have athletes from five European countries and two teams representing Asia and South America. This is all testament to the fact that Para Sailing is growing around the world," explained Juergensen.

"We are using this momentum to get more people of all ages, with all kinds of disabilities, on the water.

"We will also be raising awareness of World Sailing's #BacktheBid campaign to reinstate sailing in the Paralympic Games for LA28 at this Championship.

"Of all the sports currently on the Paralympic programme, sailing is the most definitive in terms of its capacity to represent people living with a huge range of disabilities.

"Our Championship in Rostock is also the perfect example of how simple sailing is to organise - this is a completely 'pop-up' event and all we need is water!"

The North German Regatta Association (NRV) - one of the oldest and largest yacht clubs in Germany - has hosted the Inclusion World Championship for Sailing twice in its home waters on the Outer Alster in Hamburg in 2020 and 2021.

Now, the NRV is coming together with Rostock Association of Sailing Clubs and Rostock Regatta Association, with support from patron Mona Küppers, the President of the German Sailing Association.

Wider partners for this event include State Sports Association MV, VBRS, Sailing Association MV, We are We - Inclusion in Sailing and Heinz Kettler Foundation.

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