The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has transferred governance of three Para sports to the International Ski and Snowboard Federation (FIS) and of Para biathlon to the International Biathlon Union (IBU).
The transfers, announced and effective as of yesterday (July 13), follow a move by the IPC that was begun in 2019 to manage the exit of 10 Para sports from under its governance.
In the case of the FIS, it has now taken on the three additional sports of Para alpine skiing, Para cross-country skiing and Para snowboard following approval from both the FIS membership (by a vote of 94% at the International Ski Congress in May) and the IPC Governing Board (unanimously at a meeting on May 31).
The two organizations will now work together on a smoother transition of power, they have said.
Andrew Parsons, president of the IPC, said: “To have an overwhelming majority of FIS members vote in favor of this transfer of governance underlines the extremely strong appetite FIS has to develop and grow the three Para snow sports …
“At the 2021 IPC General Assembly, IPC members provided a strong mandate for the IPC to cease acting as the international federation for 10 sports by the end of 2026. Para alpine skiing, Para cross-country and Para snowboard will be the first sports to depart the IPC, alongside Para biathlon, while good progress is being made on the remaining six.”
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Among those others are Para athletics and Para swimming, as well as Para dance.
Johan Eliasch, president of the FIS, added: “Para snow sports is a testament to all the values that our sport transmits and an integral part of our strategy. FIS represents a modern, diverse and inclusive organization.
Therefore, it is a great pleasure that we have been in an excellent exchange with the International Paralympic Committee and are finally able to include the Para disciplines and their athletes in the FIS family. This will strengthen the development of the sport and send a powerful message.”
For Para biathlon, the process will be slightly more complicated, with the sport to also be integrated in the FIS’ general Para sport initiative with many of the same elements and athletes.
The IBU provide support in the way of technical knowledge and “helping to further develop and improve the competition structure from low-level events through to World Cups and World Championships.”
This coordinated approach is intended to “maximize efficiencies and opportunities for the athletes.”
A Para biathlon steering committee will be made up of the president and general secretary of the IBU and FIS, which will be used to manage the cooperation.
Parsons said: “IPC and IBU showed a common vision about the future or Para biathlon since the beginning of the discussions about the transfer of governance. We are extremely proud of the work that has been done to develop the sport and the progress achieved while under the governance of the IPC. IBU’s commitment to the development and growth of Para biathlon bears testimony to that.
Olle Dahlin, president of the IBU, added: “Growing biathlon and making our sport as accessible as possible are key priorities and bringing Para biathlon under the IBU umbrella is fully aligned with these objectives set out in our strategic plan Target 26.
“We are grateful to FIS for their cooperation and look forward to working with them through the Steering Committee to ensure the continued development of Para biathlon around the world.”