BY APB Staff on 9 Feb 2024

World Sailing pledges to continue to strengthen Para Sailing

World Para Sailing Championships © World Sailing

World Para Sailing Championships. Image: World Sailing

World Sailing has vowed to continue supporting Para Sailing worldwide, following the news that the sport will not be included in the Paralympic Games for Los Angeles 2028.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) delivered their verdict on 30 January 2023, stating that they had received a number of strong bids to be part of the games in Los Angeles.

World Sailing’s CEO, David Graham, said, “We fully respect the verdict of the IPC and recognise the difficulty the IPC Board faced throughout this process.

“However, we must also acknowledge that this is an extremely disappointing day for our whole sport and, in particular, for Para Sailors around the world. Despite this setback, our commitment to our Para Sailors, to the continued growth of Para Sailing, and to the wider Para Sport movement will only grow stronger.

“We know a life on water unlocks so many opportunities for disabled people, we know how inclusive Para Sailing is, and we are determined that Para Sailing will continue to go from strength to strength.”

World Sailing launched its #BacktheBid campaign in the summer of 2021 to restore sailing to the Paralympic Games and offer a new generation of sailors the chance to compete at the highest level. There are now 41 nations on five continents active in Para Sailing, and over 630 active Para Sailors registered with World Sailing.

Five World Championship Para Sailing events took place in 2022, and Para Sailing will make its debut at the Allianz World Sailing Championships – The Hague 2023 later this year when sailors in Hansa 303, 2.4mR and RS Venture Connect classes will compete for world titles.

David Graham added, “On behalf of World Sailing, I would like to thank the IPC for the time and consideration given to our application. There were 33 sports seeking inclusion in the LA28 Paralympic Games, and we appreciate the challenge this poses to the IPC Board. No sport has successfully been reinstated, and we knew this would be a difficult task.

“I also want to thank everyone in sailing for their efforts throughout this campaign, particularly our Para Sailing Committee and the World Sailing Board. From the highest level to the local boat club, we have seen overwhelming support for the #BacktheBid campaign, and it shows how important it is for us to work together on the big issues that benefit the entire sport.”

World Sailing launched its Para Sailing Development Program (PDP) in 2017 to empower sailors and coaches by increasing participation in all regions. During this time, over 210 sailors and coaches from 39 countries on six continents have completed the program.

In 2022 alone, programs in the Sultanate of Oman, Singapore, Japan and Italy — where Para Kiteboarding was featured for the first time — saw a total of 40 sailors and 31 coaches from 14 nations, including Cambodia, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Malta represented for the first time.

World Sailing says it will now work closely with Member National Authorities (MNAs) to further develop the infrastructure and resources available to Para Sailing, and provide more Para Sailors with greater opportunities within the sport.

As part of the International Federation application process, a record 33 Para sports submitted applications to the IPC to be considered for inclusion in the LA28 Paralympic Games.

Andrew Parsons, the IPC President, says: “Determining these sports for inclusion to the LA28 Paralympic Games through the International Federation application process was a tremendously difficult job for the IPC Governing Board as we received 33 excellent applications. All International Federations who submitted applications should be congratulated on the quality of their submissions as they underline that all Para sports are getting stronger.

“The sports we have included in the LA28 Paralympic Games provide a competitive and attractive sports programme that will showcase the diversity of the Paralympic Movement.”