'Shocked' World Sailing wants meeting with IPC to discuss Paris 2024 ousting
World Sailing, the sport’s international governing body, is to seek a meeting with the International Paralympic Committee “as soon as possible” after reacting with shock and disappointment to the news that para-sailing will not be included in the programme of the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games for a second successive edition of the games.
Yesterday, the International Paralympic Committee said that its governing board had approved 23 sports to go forward to the next stage of assessment for inclusion in the Paris 2024 Paralympics sport programme: the 22 sports that are set to feature on the Tokyo 2020 programme, plus CP football, soccer for athletes with cerebral palsy, or an acquired brain injury.
However, sailing was one of five sports, along with golf, karate, para dance sport and powerchair football, which it said will not be considered further for inclusion in Paris 2024 “after failing to meet the inclusion criteria in a number of areas.”
Sailing was controversially culled from the programme after the Rio 2016 Olympics.
World Sailing said in today’s statement that it had been informed that its application was “not in compliance with one or more of the core criteria for games inclusion as stipulated in the IPC handbook.”
The federation added that it “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.”
The governing body said that sailing was removed from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic programme “for failing to meet worldwide reach criteria,” but claimed that, since then, it “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.”
It continued: “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.”
Andy Hunt, World Sailing’s chief executive, said: “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.
“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.”
Yesterday the IPC said that its board will make a final decision on the programme for Paris 2024 in January, and will also provide feedback to the five sports that were eliminated from the race.