Seeking a return to the Paralympic Games, World Sailing met with the president of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), Sir Phillip Craven, to report on their progress toward reinstating their status as a Paralympic Games sport.
Among the requirements is to improve participation from various nations and so the organization started the meeting outlining participation in Rio 2016. At those Paralympic Games 80 athletes from 23 different nations competed, still below where World Sailing wants to be but sill an improved participation.
Sailing was removed from the Paralympic programme in a vote in 2015, seeing the removal take effect for the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. Since that vote the door has been left open, with another chance coming in 2020 to return to the program for the 2024 Paralympic Games.
Since Rio World Sailing has set out a strategic plan to seal their return to the 2024 Paralympic Games. That plan includes goals and the tactics to achieve those goals and it was this plan that was outlined to Craven.
“There were encouraging signs from Sir Philip Craven with regards to the level of seriousness that we are treating this issue with and that our actions speak far louder than just plans. We showed that the whole of World Sailing is standing behind this program, not only the Board of Directors but the entire staff and of course all of our member national federations (MNA’s) who equally support reinstatement,” said World Sailing President Kim Anderson following Craven’s visit.
Four goals were outlined by the World Sailing Para Sailing Strategic Plan, most of the goals are about increasing participation in the sport. The main goal will be increasing participation to 40 countries, along with expanding female and youth participation. There are two other goals more concerned with governance the first is to deliver effective marketing and communications, and ensure good governance framework.
As part of World Sailing’s attempt to be reinstated in to the Paralympic Games they will be holding two Paralympic Development Program clinics through the year. The two will be in Europe, with the first in July in Gydia, Poland and the second in October in Marseille, France with sailors coming from North Africa for the event, helping with the first goal.
The other part of the puzzle for 2017’s development will be at the World Para Sailing Championship in Kiel, Germany in June. That will allow for testing of new boats for new events which should help boost participation in the sport going forward.
World Sailing are certainly making all the right moves after their sport was removed from the Paralympic Program they look to quickly rebound and respond.