2.4mR fleet at the 2019 Para Worlds © Miguel Paez / World Sailing
World Sailing has reviewed its strategy for Para Sailing
Following the disappointing decision by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) not to include Sailing at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, World Sailing has reviewed its strategy for Para Sailing, so it can continue to grow, promote and develop the sport worldwide.
Part of this strategy also includes submitting a successful bid for inclusion in the 2028 Paralympic Games.
World Sailing is committed to growing Para sailing in collaboration with its Member National Authorities (MNAs), major events and within the committee structure of the world governing body to achieve its goals.
World Sailing will continue to support and invest in the Para Sailing Development Program (PDPs) as well as the inclusion of Para sailors and coaches in the well-established Emerging Nations Support Program (ENP).
Over the past five years through participation in both the PDPs and ENPs, the number of nations with Para sailors participating in international Para sailing competitions has increased by 30%.
Sailing has an almost unique capacity to include people from all ages and abilities. While continuing to encourage MNAs to make Para sailing a more inclusive and welcoming sport for both competition and recreation at a local and national level, World Sailing aims to foster ongoing development and provide an exciting international program of inclusive competitions.
One key area of focus is working to increase inclusion of Para sailing in Regional Games and competitions - pinnacle events for the emerging and developing MNAs. World Sailing is engaging with the organisers of Regional Para Games to seek opportunities for sailing to be part of the programme of these important multi-sport events to showcase the sport.
A much-needed review of the schedule for World and Regional Para Sailing Championships has been undertaken to ensure that the most efficient structure and calendar of events is established for the future. This review includes, as announced at World Sailing's 2018 Annual Conference, a quadrennial scheduling of the Para World Sailing Championship alongside the 10 Olympic disciplines at the Combined Sailing World Championship every 4 years.
The 2022 Combined Sailing World Championships in The Hague, The Netherlands will include all the Para Sailing Classes, providing a new pinnacle event every four years for Para sailors around the world to aspire to.
For the years in between the quadrennial Combined Sailing World Championships, starting in 2020, a more streamlined and cost effective schedule will begin offering sailors the opportunity to gain ranking points for participation in local, region and international events - some of which will provide for the awarding of a Para World Championship title within an established event like the 2020 2.4mR Open World Championship or Hansa Open World Championship.
Furthermore, in all the stages of the Hempel World Cup Series, Para classes will be included as an Open competition, enabling the world's best Para sailors to take on their able-bodied peers with ranking points awarded to classified Para sailors. By continuing to develop a more inclusive organisation and events program, World Sailing believes it can provide a better structure and environment for sailors of all abilities, while still leaving the door open for Para-only events.
In addition to the one-person and two-person keelboat disciplines included in the Combined Para World Sailing Championships, further Para World Sailing Championship titles may be awarded for Multihull, Blind Sailing and Intellectual Disability disciplines.
World Sailing will continue to offer limited, yet ongoing support, for both the Blind Match Racing and Blind Fleet Racing disciplines. A partnership with the International Federation for Athletes with Intellectual Impairments (INAS), the peak international sporting organisation for athletes with intellectual impairment, was recently announced; through this partnership, World Sailing will establish a sailing competition structure and support network for this Sailors group.
In the period between Combined Para World Championships, World Sailing will work with National Federations, Regional and Continental Associations to organize National, Regional, Continental and International events along with a clear grading system, in order to provide pathway opportunities for sailors and results for the World Rankings. More countries will be encouraged to conduct National Para Sailing Championships and coordinate with other MNAs in their region and with developing areas by consolidating resources for more regionally based events.
During 2019, World Sailing's Board of Directors and the Para World Sailing Committee will be updating the Para Sailing Strategic Plan, drawing together the strategies and initiatives to take the sport forward over the next five years. These efforts have begun with a completion date targeted for the Annual General Meeting in November 2019.