World Sailing, the world governing body of the sport, officially registered their intent to apply for sailing to be considered for inclusion to the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games Sports Programme
There was widespread disappointment when the decision to remove sailing from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Sports Programme was announced in January 2015.
Sir Philip Craven, IPC President, said in explanation of the decision on paralympic.org: “The Board’s final decision was not an easy one and, after much debate, we decided not to include two sports – football 7-a-side and sailing – from the Tokyo 2020 programme for the same reason. Both did not fulfil the IPC Handbook’s minimum criteria for worldwide reach.”
Duncan Souster, CEO of the Jubilee Sailing Trust, a charity which promotes the integration of people of all physical abilities through sailing adventures, said at the time: “We are hugely disappointed with this decision from the International Paralympic Committee. Sailing offers a life-changing outlet for people with a wide range of disabilities, inspiring them to lead more independent lives. Sailing is more than an Olympic sport, it demonstrates that disabled people can take on the kinds of challenges that would inspire anyone. To cull it from the Games is pouring a cold bucket of water on that inspiration.”
Souster’s disappointment was echoed by Australian Paralympic Committee President Glenn Tasker, who said: “Like our Yachting Australia and Australian Sailing Team colleagues, we are worried that this decision will have serious implications for the sport at all levels. Sailing is the only Paralympic sport that allows quadriplegics, such as myself, to compete against much more able athletes on an even and fair platform. And to take this opportunity away from future athletes in my situation, or worse, is a very disappointing decision.”
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Following on from the disappointment in 2015, World Sailing developed initiatives to accelerate the growth of the sport through the Paralympic Development Programme. This led to more than 80 sailors from 37 nations and five continents racing across three events at the 2017 Para World Sailing Championships.
World Sailing now wants sailing included in the 2024 Paris Paralympics.
World Sailing President, Kim Andersen, commented: “World Sailing is passionate and determined to win the hearts and minds of the IPC so that sailing is re-included within the Paralympic programme in Paris.”
Regional clinics are planned for 2018 by the Paralympic Development Programme to help increase participants’ knowledge and understanding of the sport. These clinics will be augmented by a series of world class sailing events.
The IPC Governing Board are due to meet in Bonn, Germany on 27 January 2018 to decide which new sports and disciplines are eligible to enter Phase 2 of the application process.