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One month to go: Prime Minister of Japan set to welcome World Para Sailing Championships

by World Sailing 20 Sep 2022 12:48 PDT
World Para Sailing Championships © World Sailing

Japan will make Para Sailing history in just 30 days by hosting its first simultaneous Para World Sailing Championship with the Hansa Class Asia Pacific Championship on 20-23 October in Hiroshima Bay.

Over 120 sailors from eleven countries will compete in Japan in the Para World Sailing Championship (Hansa 303 male and female, and Liberty classes) and Asia Pacific Championship (Hansa 303 single and double, Hansa 2.3 single and Liberty).

The Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida, has been a vocal supporter of the Para World Championship ever since the decision was made for dual hosting.

Speaking at the launch event in his home town at the fully accessible Hiroshima Kannon Marina, Kishida championed the role of Para Sailing and Para sports in creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive society:

"It is a challenge common to the international community to create a society where all people, young and old, people with disabilities, men and women, can feel a sense of purpose in life.

"I am convinced that the many participants from all over the world who will gather in Hiroshima to compete in the scenic Seto Inland Sea will inspire and encourage people with their bright and shining lives and help Japan to develop a society in which diversity is respected."

World Sailing maps course for Para Sailing in Asia

World Sailing has been working closely with the Government of Japan and Para sports and education organisations in Hiroshima, carefully mapping the course for Para Sailing in Asia in line with its ultimate goal of increasing participation as part of the Para World Sailing Strategy into 2023.

Japanese Paralympic sailor Yoko Sone, competing in the Hansa 303 single at the Para World Sailing Championship, reflects on what this means for global Para Sailing:

"It is very important for the Japanese people to see that Para Sailors and non-Para sailors can both enjoy this sport.

Before sailing, I tried wheelchair basketball and wheelchair skiing but they are very different - in sailing, we sail in the same water and in the same boats.

We are showing that sailing is an inclusive sport and now with our first official world championship for Para Sailors in Japan, we can show the world that Asia has good venues and opportunities for Para Sailing - this will encourage other Asian nations to start Para Sailing programmes, even non-Para sailing programmes."

LA28 and global Para Sailing "for all"

While Japan and global sailing are making history, World Sailing is now eleven months into its #BacktheBid campaign for sailing to be reinstated in the Los Angeles 2028 Paralympic Games.

David Graham, CEO of World Sailing, highlighted:

"In this year of vital importance for Paralympic Sailing, this is a major opportunity for us to showcase the fact that in sailing we see such an incredibly broad range of physical and sensory capabilities, making Para Sailing a sport for all.

"This is exciting, especially in Japan after the successful Tokyo 2020 Games - and a major opportunity for us to inspire a whole new generation of Para Sailors in Japan and beyond."

World Sailing will also be staging a four-day Para Sailing Development Program before the Para World Sailing Championship, celebrating yet another milestone - reaching 45 countries in less than six years since the program's creation in January 2017.

Masuhiro Bamba, President of Japan Sailing Federation, concluded: "Para Sailing is a vital sporting force for creating an inclusive society. Building a society that recognises and celebrates diversity will raise awareness, tolerance and acceptance, and create new levels of respect within the community.

"Hiroshima, the International Peace Memorial City, has been hosting Hansa Class events for more than 20 years and being chosen to stage these two international competitions will inspire growth in sailing across the region and give courage to sailors to pursue their dreams on the water."

The 2022 Hansa Class Asia Pacific Championship and Para World Sailing Championship are being organised by the Japan Sailing Federation, International Hansa Class Association, Japan Hansa Class Association and Hiroshima Sailing Federation, supported by World Sailing and fourteen local media, sports and education partners including the Japan Para Sports Association and Hiroshima Prefecture and City Para Sports Associations.

More information at www.hansaclass-hiroshima.com

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