The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Disabled Sailing Committee (IFDS) has issued a statement regarding Paralympic sailing being dropped from the 2020 Games line up.
The IFDS saying it is ‘profoundly disappointed by the decision of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to exclude sailing from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
‘In a statement the IFDS says it ‘responded in a timely and comprehensive manner to queries from IPC, with details of sailors that participate regularly in international regattas or national championships, on Paralympic boats.
‘IFDS ensures an extensive quadrennial program of international competitions replicating the Olympic Program organized by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), including ISAF Sailing World Cup. IFDS sanctions and organizes yearly Combined World Championships in the Paralympic classes.
‘Development has resulted in the regular addition of new countries to competitive sailing. The process of merging with ISAF (with a membership of 139 Member National Authorities) was completed in November of 2014, with the main aim of opening a whole new field for the development of disabled sailing.
‘During the period of pre-merging, ISAF always respected the independence of IFDS decisions. Through ISAF’s development programmes, worldwide participation initiatives and event structure, the opportunities for disabled sailing are better than ever before.
‘IFDS fully appreciates how devastated all the stakeholders are by IPC’s decision, be they sailors, coaches, sponsors, National Sailing or Paralympic Authorities.
‘Now ISAF will promptly address any items identified by the IPC in a bid to reinstate sailing back into the Paralympic Games as soon as possible.
The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) has acknowledged the statement made by the ISAF Disabled Sailing Committee, and is pleased to see ISAF’s commitment to promptly addressing items identified by the International Paralympic Committee in a bid to reinstate sailing back into the Paralympic Games as soon as possible.
A spokesman said: ‘We understand that ISAF has been in contact with the IPC and will be exploring every available avenue.
‘The RYA has again reiterated its support in whatever way necessary to ISAF, who have pledged to provide some global coordination in this issue.
‘The RYA urges other Member National Authorities to stand ready to support ISAF in providing robust data in support of Paralympic and disability sailing activity in their countries, in order to build the case for sailing’s inclusion as a sport worthy of its place on the Paralympic Games programme.’
More than 12,900 people have signed a petition calling for sailing to be reinstated as a sport in the 2020 Paralympic Games.
A Facebook page called Reinstate Paralympic Sailing 2020 has also gained the support of 11,800 followers.
Paralympic sailing champion Helena Lucas, who won gold in the 2.4mR class at the London 2012 Games, told Practical Boat Owner magazine: ‘I’m really disappointed that sailing has not been chosen as a sport for the 2020 Tokyo Games.
‘Since London 2012 there has been a lot of effort in continuing the legacy and making sailing an accessible sport to everyone. It’s a big backwards step for Paralympic sailing which I feel was really developing In terms of participation and professionalism.
‘I’m sure ISAF will do whatever they can to strengthen their case to the IPC and hopefully get the decision overturned.’