Please select your home edition
J Composites 2020 - LEADERBOARD

The Paralympic strategy plan: On the way to Kiel

by Hermann Hell 20 May 2017 11:16 PDT 17-25 June 2017
Local hero Heiko Kroeger has won Kiel Week six times © okpress

After the Paralympic end for the sailing sport, World Sailing has made a strategy plan for the next four years from 2017 until 2020. The objective: Sailing shall again be a Paralympic discipline in 2024.

A hard way to go, which is leading via Kiel and has its grand opening at Kiel Week (17-25 June). Because during the Kiel Week, Kiel will be hosting the Para World Sailing Championships 2017. So the 2.4mR's will be sailing as an open class in the first part of Kiel Week and together with three other classes that are set up for disabled sailors (Hansa 303, Weta and Skut) starting from June 21st.

At the deadline 80 sailors from 40 nations/6 continents were on the participants' list of the PWSC, among them two gold medal winners of the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). The Australian sailors Daniel Fitzgibbon/Liesl Tesco registered in the two-man keel skiff Skud, Heiko Kroeger (gold medal 2000 in Sydney and silver medal in 2012 in London) will encounter gold medal winner of Rio, Damien Seguin (France), and silver medal winner Matthew Bugg (Australia). With Dee Smith (USA/Paralympics-4.), Björnar Erikstad (Norway/5.), Antonio Squizzato (Italy/7.) and Niko Salomaa (Finland/8.), almost the entire 2.4mR world elite will be on the start line in Kiel and shows that the World Sailing's strategy plan can count on Kiel. For the local hero Kroeger, it will be difficult to win Kiel Week for a seventh time.

Massimo Dighe, Para World Sailing Manager and London 2012 Paralympian said: "The Para World Sailing Championships is a key step on the road to reinstatement back into the Paralympic Games for sailing and I am delighted that the hard work put in by World Sailing and its stakeholders is paying off.

"The entries feature many new nations and sailors. Competitors from non-traditional Para World Sailing countries such as Chile, Indonesia, Latvia, Macau, Namibia, South Africa, Turkey, Tunisia and Uruguay have got behind the cause and I'm excited to see the competition on the water this coming June.

"While it is encouraging to see so many new nations competing, it is important that we don't lose focus and we continue to move Para World Sailing forward. Hopefully this is just the start of new countries and sailors getting involved and joining us in a sport we love", said Massimo Dighe published on the homepage of World Sailing.

In 1996, sailing was visible due to demonstrations and made its way to the Paralympics over from the Games in Sydney 2000 until Rio 2016. But in 2020 in Tokyo, sailing is no longer part of the Paralympics. The main justification for the end was its minor distribution around the world. So World Sailing is now doing everything to reach the necessary number of 32 countries from three continents to be able to bring sailing back into the game next year at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). To gain Paralympic status is on of the highest objectives of World Sailing, stated World Sailing's new President Kim Andersson on his first official visit to Kiel.

Like hardly any other sport, sailing allows the athletic comparison between sportsmen and women with different types of disabilities and also covers a large variety of disabilities. Already in 2002, Kieler Woche demonstrated that the 2.4mR class is also perfect for inclusion and for the athletic comparison between disabled and non-disabled sportsmen and women. Thus Kiel Week is a model event for World Sailing, that is supporting the Para World Sailing Committee in realising the concept, that has inclusion, variety and the integration of disabled sailors as objectives.

The four steps of the strategy plan includes the most important actions to establish the sailing sport for disabled athletes in 40 countries on four continents. World Sailing is counting on national partners and active sailors. Three so-called regional hotspots shall help to increase the number of nations from 2017 (goal: 32 nations from three continents) to 40 nations from four continents by 2020. The World Sailing Association wants to support the national associations with seminars and training units. The future Paralympic classes shall be defined in August this year.

Spreading the sport internationally and creating partnerships with boat manufacturers will probably be two cornerstones. On top of that, the sport of sailing will attract more youth and female athletes.

The two-time Paralympic medal winner Heiko Kroeger wishes to include the active sailors more in this process. He is very clear in his statement: "The IPC has knocked over with its back, what we have built up with our hands." Kroeger added: "There is hardly any sport with more inclusion than sailing, where the cooperation works well. It is very clear that this is a political decision, not a rational one, but was decided for other reasons." With the Paralympic end it did get really difficult to increase the number of nations. In many countries, there are no allowances or financial support with the loss of the Paralympic status, is Kroeger's remark. A problem, which is also known to World Sailing.

Therefore the strategy plan includes the step to cooperate with model events. The focus will be on the inclusion of all degrees of disability, the internationality of the events and the reduction of costs for the participants. Kiel is the ideal partner for this. Kiel has set up a high number of excellent sailing events in the past. "With our dedication and the support of our partners, we would like to get the biggest attention for the Para World Sailing Championships in Kiel", said the President of World Sailing, Kim Andersen.

The inclusion of disabled sailors has been a fixed part of Kieler Woche for many years. In 2002 the Paralympic class, that became Paralympic two years before, was added to the Kiel Week program, and since 2008 disabled and non-disabled sailors are sailing together and against each other at the Kiel Week. 2014 and 2016, even Sonar sailors were starting at the Kiel Week. After the rearrangement of the marina area, the construction of a barrier-free conference site and the installation of a lift, the barrier-free 44m long and 1.80m wide access to pier 1 and several resting areas for short breaks were finished in 2016. Altogether, the federal government, the state and the city of Kiel have invested 269,000 Euro. This means the best prerequisites for the Para World Sailing Championships are done.

To reduce participants' costs, World Sailing offers 100,000 Euro for the active sailors. And the partner for logistics and transport GAC Pindar will support the transport to the Kieler Woche (17-25 June) and to the Sailing World Cup in Hyères (23-30 April).

The third objective of World Sailing is efficient marketing and public relations with social media being in the centre of that. A worldwide network of stakeholders shall help to improve the public's perception of the disabled sailing sport. "The Para World Sailing Championships are a model event for World Sailing to show the IPC progress we have made to develop and improve the disabled sailing sport. We will continue to work closely together with the active sailors, our members, classes and media", emphasises Andersen.

It is the biggest challenge to reach the number of participants, that convinces the International Paralympic Committee to again include the maybe most perfect sport for inclusion, the sailing sport, in the circle of Paralympic sports. "We will do everything to make the Kiel Week be a promotion event to make the sailing sport again be a part of the Paralympics", the Head of Organisation of the Kiel Week regattas, Dirk Ramhorst, is positive. The numbers are correct: More than 80 starters from 40 nations from all six continents cannot be more convincing.

The classes:

  • Single-handed keel boat open: 2.4mR,
  • Single-handed keel boat, women: Hansa 303,
  • Single-handed keel boat, men: Hansa 303,
  • Multi-hull, mixed: Weta
  • Double-handed keel boat: Skud 18, open (International Championship)
Kiel Week Schedule:

Kiel Week, part I (17-20 June)
2.4mR (open), 29er (Euro Cup), 505, Albin Express, Contender, Europe, Flying Dutchman, Folkboat, Formula18, Hobie16, J/24, Laser 4.7, Laser Rad. (open), Nacra15, OK dinghy

Kiel Week, part II (21-25 June)
Para World Sailing Championships, (2.4mR, Skud, Hansa 303, Weta), 470 M/W,49er M,49erFX (open) Finn M,Laser Rad. W,Laser Std. M, Nacra17 Mix, 21.-25. June. 420, J/70, J/80, Melges24 (European Sailing Series), 22.-25. June.

Kiel Week, ORC (17-24 June)
Welcome Race (Kiel - Eckernfoerde - Kiel) 17.-18. June.

Information about Kiel Week 2017 can be found at

Related Articles

Polish, Danes and Germans leading at Kieler Woche
Numerous local wins in tricky wind conditions Julia Büsselberg from Berlin defended her third podium finish in the Olympic ILCA 6 class behind Poland's Agata Barwinska and Hannah Snellgrove from Great Britain at Kieler Woche on Friday (September 11th). Posted on 10 Sep 2021
Kiel Cup for ORC class at Kieler Woche
Four offshore races in light breeze offered an unusual challenge Kieler Woche winners 2021 in the Kiel Cup of offshore yachts are Michael Berghorn with the "halbtrocken 4.5" in the ORC I group, Torsten Bastiansen at the helm of the "Xen-Sydbank" after ORC II and Kai Mares, who led "IMMAC Fram" to the highest podium. Posted on 10 Sep 2021
Kieler Woche part II update
Windsurfing is back after 9 years, and the leaders are Kördel and Steinlein After a nine-year break, windsurfing is back at Kieler Woche. 24 athletes from five nations are competing for victory in the new Olympic iQ Foil class (2024 in Paris) for women and men. Posted on 10 Sep 2021
Part I of Kieler Woche 2021 finishes with no wind
Four overall wins each for Germany and Scandinavia The first part of Kieler Woche 2021 ended on Tuesday without wind, just like the day before. The leading athletes from the perfect Sunday are also the overall winners of the 127th edition of Kieler Woche. Posted on 8 Sep 2021
Young sailing talents are rushing to Kiel Week
Organisers optimistic for September's event Even though the pandemic still has an impact on events, things are looking much better than the year before. Thus, many program activities are planned in the city and Schilksee also onshore. Posted on 23 Jul 2021
Star Class World Championship returns to Kiel
Yacht designer, Ocean Race Europe winner and Olympians to line-up The Star Class World Championship returns to Kiel. After 1939, 1966, 1977 and 1993, the world's best keelboat sailors will compete in the state capital of Schleswig-Holstein to crown their world champions. Posted on 14 Jul 2021
Star World Championship to be held at Kiel Week
No less than 80 of the two-man keelboats are expected The Star World Championship returns to Kiel. And this September, two events are on the schedule at once. For the Junior Star Worlds, 40 boats are expected and for the Star World Championship no less than 80 of the two-man keelboats are expected. Posted on 5 May 2021
Solidarity for the united Kiel Week
Everything will be done in compliance with the pandemic rules Also in 2021 there will be no Kiel Week in the usual format. While the 2020 edition was based on the principle of "sailing first", the main focus in 2021 will be on a united Kiel Week for sailing and festivals. Posted on 20 Apr 2021
Kiel Week 2021 postponed to September
The logical decision in view of the current situation Free, outside and for everyone - that's how Kiel Week wants to present itself again this year. Therefore, it will not take place at the end of June again, but will be postponed to the date 4 to 12 September. Posted on 19 Mar 2021
Waszp fly at Kiel Week
30 of the foilers expected at the event Once again, Kiel combines tradition and innovation. Up to 30 Waszp are expected in June. There were already registrations from Denmark, Germany and Great Britain at the end of February. Posted on 22 Feb 2021
McConaghy 2022 - MC63p & MC75 FOOTERC-Tech 2021 (Spars-QFX Racer) 728x90 BOTTOMHenri-Lloyd M-PRO FOOTER SW