Para Sailing Championship with Kroeger and Kroker
The excitement about the perfect integration of the Para World Sailing Championship into the Kiel Week 2017 caused quite a stir. Kim Andersen, President of World Sailing, John Petersson, member of the Governing Board of the International Paralympic Committee/IPC, Julius Beucher, Chairman of the German Association for Disabled Sports/DBS as well as representatives of Eurosaf did overwhelm Kiel with compliments. So granting Kiel to host the Eurosaf Para Sailing Championships in 2018 was the logical consequence. From 20. until 24. June, the top European sailors will be participating in the second half of the Kiel Week (16. until 24 June) at the Para Sailing European Championship in Kiel.
"We will do everything to support World Sailing to bring back the Paralympic status for the sailing sport for the Games in 2024", stated Dirk Ramhorst (Kiel Yacht Club). Inclusion fits into Kiel’s concept. "We have ideal prerequisites for that, and inclusion has been a fixed part of the Kiel Week for years", explained the Head of Organization of the Kiel Week regattas. In 2002, the Paralympic boat classes became part of the Kiel Week, since 2008 the 2.4mR class is an open class.
With the European Championship in Kiel and the World Championship in the USA, there will be two major events in 2018 to stress the importance and possibilities of the sailing sport. Already in October next year the decision will be made, which disciplines will be represented at the Paralympics in 2024. "It is one of our main objectives that sailing will be part again. There is no type of sports, which is similarly suitable for inclusion", stated Kim Andersen. Sailors with disabilities competing against non-disabled sailors, all is possible in the 2.4mR. The strong signal from Kiel in direction of IPC was not missed, said the representative of the sailing sport: "Many thanks to Germany, many thanks to Kiel.“
Former gold medal winners and old hands will be starting for Germany in the 2.4mR as well as the Hansa 303. Jens Kroker wants to demonstrate his skills in the Hansa 303 dinghy. The former Olympic winner in the Sonar (2008 in China) is looking for a new challenge in the dinghy. The sailor from Hamburg is the voice of the Paralympic sailors. Kroker thus is the first sailor with disabilities in the athletes’ comission of World Sailing.
Despite his parting from the Paralympic sport, a European Para Sailing Championship in Kiel cannot take place without Heiko Kröger. The gold medal winner from Sydney and multiple World Champion is a strong defender of the inclusion and it his impact played a major role in offering regattas adapted to the needs of the disabled on the level today in Kiel.
The gold medal winner from Sydney and multiple World Champion Heiko Kröger. Foto: www.segel-bilder.de
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