Getting (back) into the Paralympics

Published on October 5th, 2020

The Paralympics had featured sailing as a sport in every Games between Sydney 2000 and Rio 2016, but when in 2015 the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) claimed the sport could not fulfil their minimum criteria for worldwide reach, it was a wake-up call for sailing leadership

Removed as a sport for Tokyo 2020, it launched significant changes, and while the IPC blocked a bid to return for Paris 2024 despite met requirements, World Sailing remains optimistic for a return to the program at the Paralympic Games in time for Los Angeles 2028.

While it is not known how the IPC will view sport activity in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, all four candidates vying for election this month as World Sailing president would make it a priority to reestablish sailing in the Paralympic Games. Here is an excerpt from a recent interview on the topic:

Kim Andersen (DEN), incumbent:
“With our new 2020-2023 strategy for Para sailing, which shows how World Sailing will continue to grow, promote and develop all Para disciplines worldwide I believe that we have a strong foundation to make our case to the IPC.”

Quanhai Li (CHN):
“We would like to encourage more countries and regions to participate and address this in the services plans, in this way it will be easier for the countries and regions that are not active in parasailing to be involved.”

Scott Perry (URU):
“We face a very difficult task simply because the IPC controls 12 para-sports, all of which invariably get included in the Paralympic Games and in regional para-games. Despite the fact that we meet almost all of the criteria the IPC sets for inclusion in the Paralympics we must continue to attempt to be included in future Paralympic Games.”

Gerardo Seeliger (ESP):

“We need to favor appreciation of Paralympic events by making them more accessible, and popular, and World Sailing needs to help all our MNA0 (member nations) s to have parasailing programs, Continental events, events like Kieler Woche, (while) World Sailing must be actively involved in the political networking with the Sports Governing organizations needed to make sure our Para sailors get back to the Paralympics.”

The first round of voting for the World Sailing President is due to open on October 9 with the winner scheduled to be announced at a virtual conference on November 1.

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