The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) has today expressed its profound disappointment at the International Paralympic Committee’s decision not to reinstate sailing to the Paralympic Games for LA28.
The IPC’s Governing Board reached the decision after assessing applications from International Federations vying for a place on the LA28 Games plan, which currently considers 22
Paralympic sports (the same number as Rio, Tokyo and Paris) but with 33 sports seeking inclusion for LA28 for just two places.
From the very start of World Sailing’s #BacktheBid campaign, the RYA and fellow Member National Authorities have committed their unwavering support to the reinstatement of sailing in the Paralympic Games. By demonstrating the accessibility, inclusivity, and equity of our sport, the #BacktheBid campaign made the IPC’s decision even more difficult than it already was.
World Sailing CEO, David Graham, said: "We fully respect the verdict of the IPC and recognise the difficulty the IPC Board faced throughout this process. However, we must also acknowledge that this is an extremely disappointing day for our whole sport and, in particular, for Para Sailors around the world. Despite this setback, our commitment to our Para Sailors, to the continued growth of Para Sailing, and to the wider Para Sport movement will only grow stronger.
"We know a life on water unlocks so many opportunities for disabled people, we know how inclusive Para Sailing is, and we are determined that Para Sailing will continue to go from strength to strength."
The 2023 Allianz Sailing World Championships is set to make history by being the first championship event to include Para World Sailing – and the RYA has today affirmed its commitment to field a competitive GBR team to the championships. International competition is flourishing, with the Hansa Class supporting a team to compete in the 2023 Hansa Class World Championship in Portimão, Portugal. By working with a range of organisations through the Para Sailing hub, the RYA is committed to growing the opportunities for Para Sailors to race and train nationally and internationally.
Sara Sutcliffe MBE, Chief Executive of the RYA, said: “We welcome World Sailing’s commitment to inspire generations of Para Sailing athletes to discover sailing, as it is one of the few sports where men and women can compete alongside and against each other on a level playing field. World Sailing’s bid for LA28 reflected this with proposed mixed male and female crews, or fleets, across all three of the suggested classes.
“The RYA was proud to select and fund a talented team of Under 25 sailors to represent GBR at this year’s RS Venture Connect World Championship in Oman – and we will continue to develop younger sailors, in the same way that we are committed to sending a GBR team to this year’s Allianz Sailing World Championships.
“Para Sailing is undoubtedly one of the most inclusive sports there is and we are of course both saddened and disappointed with the decision not to reinstate Para Sailing to the Paralympic Games for LA28. We are, however, committed to working with World Sailing as they seek to develop a long-term sustainable structure for the sport.”
If you are a disabled person passionate about sailing and motivated by competition, the RYA Para Sailing hub is a network of sailors and organisations, joining forces and doing more together.
The hub is championed by the RYA Sailability and builds upon the success of the #MoreThanSailing campaign, which aims to break down perceived barriers to participation and provide more opportunities for disabled people to get on the water.
As a sailor or as an organisation, you can join the the RYA Para Sailing hub and help increase opportunities for disabled sailors to race and train, locally, nationally and internationally.