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 program of events for the sailors that compete regularly at a national and international level.”
Sailing was removed from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Sports Program 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 program.
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.
Paralympic Development Program 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.