Sailing’s Fate in the Paralympic Games
It was for good reason when sailing was dropped from the Paralympic Games after Rio 2016. Despite its suitability, the management of parasailing was not meeting the International Paralympic Committee requirements. While it was a surprise to some, it was a wake-up call for all.
Since that day, the mission has been to make changes required for reinstatement. While that effort failed for Paris 2024, World Sailing is making an even stronger case for Los Angeles 2028. In anticipation of that decision, World Sailing CEO David Graham submitted this open letter to Para Sailors around the world on January 23, 2023:
“I am writing an open letter to you all at this time because the decision on whether sailing is reinstated to the Paralympic Games for LA28 is expected in the coming days. While we do not know the outcome, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their unwavering support throughout the #BacktheBid campaign since it was launched in the summer of 2021. When sailing was dropped from the Paralympic Games after Rio 2016, it was for good reason. Despite its suitability, the management of parasailing was not meeting the International Paralympic Committee requirements. While it was a shocker to some, it was a wake-up call for all. When we speak as one, sailing has a powerful voice, and it is incredibly important for the sport to unite behind big causes. It has been truly inspiring to see the global support for #BacktheBid. You have most definitely been noticed and we are extremely grateful for your support.
However, we must also recognize that there are 33 sports seeking inclusion for LA28 and no sport has successfully been reinstated after being dropped. While we have made an extremely powerful case for sailing, we also recognize that other sports will also have put forward strong proposals, and we appreciate that this is an incredibly difficult decision for the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Board.
Regardless of the outcome, World Sailing is absolutely committed to the future of Para Sailing. Our efforts to grow the sport are just the start, and Para Sailing is going from strength to strength.
This year’s Sailing World Championships in The Hague will feature Para Sailing for the first time, with sailors able to compete for world titles in Hansa 303, 2.4mR, and RS Venture Connect.
World Sailing’s Para Sailing Development Programs will continue to expand the sport’s reach by training coaches and classifiers and supporting athletes to enter the sport. Since its launch in 2017, over 210 sailors and coaches from 39 countries on six continents have taken part, and in 2022 alone, 40 sailors and 31 coaches from 14 nations – many participating for the first time – joined the program.
The IPC decision for LA28 is not the end of our mission, and I have already publicly confirmed my continuous commitment to Para Sailing.
We have already seen a huge increase in participation in Para Sailing, and this should be seen as a major success.
Para Sailing is an integral part of our sport, and if we are unsuccessful, we will commit our efforts to be included ahead of Brisbane 2032 by creating more opportunities for sailors to train and compete and for coaches and program leaders to inspire generations of Para Athletes to discover sailing.
Thank you once again for your support, and may the wind always be in your favor.”
For more information, visit https://bit.ly/3ZUkxcp.