A strong signal from Kiel toward IPC
Press release of 2017-06-25 — Back to the list
The Paralympic sailing sport has had a fabulous new start. With the Para World Championships (PWSC) during the Kiel Week, the sailors launched an impressive application to reinstate sailing for the Games 2024 after the Paralympic-off for 2020.
Pricegiving ceremony for 2.4 Norlin OD Class - Photo: Kieler Woche/segel-bilder.de
After the decision of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) two years ago to remove sailing from the program of 2020, consternation was big. But the sailors did shake off the disappointment to rise again. World Sailing did support the Paralympic sailors after the World Congress in Barcelona (World Sailing Annual Conference) last November. With athletes from 27 nations at the PWSC, this now is a strong signal from Kiel to the world.
The recognition for a strong World Championship in the disciplines 2.4mR and Hansa 303 (men and women) came from the top level of the IPC. John Petersson, one of 13 members of the IPC Governing Board, did visit Kiel and was happy about the happening on the water and ashore: "Congratulation to Para Sailing for this strong development in the last months. Nearly 40 nations and a big number of participants at the start line were one of the requirements from the IPC. Because we want to spread the sports worldwide", said Petersson, who participated five times between 1984 and 2000 as a swimmer at the Paralympics and has won six gold medals and in total 15 medals.
Petersson was extremely impressed from the integrative character of the Kiel Week, where disabled and non-disabled sailors can compete against each other at the same time and form a big cooperation: "It is great to have the competitions combined at the Kiel Week. So both parties can learn from each other", said Petersson.
John Petersson, one of 13 members of the IPC Governing Board: “It is great to have the competitions combined at the Kiel Week.” Foto: Kieler Woche/segel-bilder.de
For a reinstatement of the sailing sport into the Paralympic program, it is important to establish a classification system for the athletes, which is fair for everyone. Further criteria, for example the medialisation, are part of the evaluation, which is the same procedure for every sport, before it is decided in 2019, which disciplines will be part of the Games in 2024. The members of the IPC Boards are always on the way to get information about the sports according to Petersson. So one month ago, the IPC President Philip Craven had a meeting with Kim Andersen, the President of World Sailing.
Petersson himself will talk about his experiences with his colleagues from the IPC Board in Kiel. Also World Sailing shall receive an enthusiastic feedback about the Para World Sailing Championships. Bernard Destrubé, member of the Para Committee at World Sailing, said: "I had concerns at first that the Para World Championships at the Kiel Week would be given too little room. But I am extremely impressed.“
This enthusiasm was also shared by other parties. Friedhelm Julius Beucher, President of the German Association for Disabled Sports (DBS), did call it an "accident of the sports policy" to remove sailing from the program of the Paralympics. The crush of the athletes and nations in Kiel "is the best publicity for the sailing sport", stated Beucher. He thus indirectly agreed with John Petersson, who said: "The negative decision has also had positive effects on the Paralympic sailing, since it resulted in big efforts”.