World Sailing, the world governing body of the sport, has officially expressed an interest to the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to be included in the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games Sports Programme.
The IPC today (22 November) confirmed that sailing was one of eight sports, not currently on the Paralympic Programme, that notified them about their intent to apply for Paris 2024.
Kim Andersen, World Sailing President 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.
"The opportunity to compete at the Paralympic Games was and would be the pinnacle for Para Sailors within our sport, where sailors, regardless of types and degrees of disability have the opportunity to excel on a truly level playing field.
"We strongly share and embrace the vision of the IPC to 'enable Paralympic athletes to achieve sporting excellence and inspire and excite the world' and will continue to work
tirelessly to support the work of the IPC."
Sailing was removed from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Sports Programme in January 2015. Following this news, World Sailing has accelerated the growth of the sport through initiatives such as the Paralympic Development Programme that culminated in more than 80 sailors from 37 nations and five continents racing across three events at the 2017 Para World Sailing Championships.
Further investment and development in Para World Sailing continues with World Sailing's shipping and logistics partner, GAC Pindar, actively supporting reinstatement initiatives.
At the 2017 Annual Conference in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, World Sailing's Council unanimously approved the full integration of the Para World Sailing Championships into future editions of the Sailing World Championships, the single largest World Sailing event, from 2022 onwards. World Sailing's Council also approved the appointment of a Para Sailor to World Sailing's Athletes' Commission.
Events and equipment for 2018 were also approved at the 2018 Annual Conference. Contributing factors on the decisions comprised of the need to include athletes with a high-level disability, help grow participating nations as well as ensuring there was both a live spectator and media appeal.
The following events and formats will be seen throughout 2018:
- Single Person Keelboat (Technical) – Open Gender – 2.4 Norling OD – fleet racing with a Medal Race
- Single Person Keelboat (Non-Technical) – Male – Hansa 303 – Short course fleet racing, supplied boat with a Medal Race
- Single Person Keelboat (Non-Technical) – Female – Hansa 303 – Short course fleet racing, supplied boat with a Medal Race
- Two Person Keelboat – Open Gender – RS Venture Connect – Short course fleet racing, supplied boat with late stage knockouts. The winner of the final race will win the event
The Paralympic Development Programme will continue in 2018 with regional clinics planned to help increase participants' knowledge and understanding of the sport. These clinics will be complemented by a world class series of events.
Sailing's World Cup Series will feature Para World Sailing, the European Para Championships will head to Kiel, Germany before Sheboygan, USA welcomes competitors for the 2018 World Championships.
On 27 January 2018, the IPC Governing Board will meet in Bonn, Germany, to decide which new sports and disciplines from those who have expressed an interest are eligible to enter Phase 2 of the application process.
From February 2018, the 22 established Paralympic sports, plus those additional sports and disciplines approved by the Governing Board, will be invited to complete a comprehensive application pack by July 2018. The pack features a series of questions that aims to give the IPC detailed information regarding each sport's governance, rules and regulations, associated costs, anti-doping programme compliance and activities, worldwide reach, quadrennial competition programme and procedures to ensure athlete welfare.