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World Sailing closes out record-breaking Para Sailing year, as LA28 decision countdown begins

by World Sailing 24 Dec 2022 14:20 PST
Para Sailing © World Sailing / Sailing Energy

World Sailing is celebrating a record-breaking year for Para Sailing as the global sports community awaits the International Paralympic Committee's LA28 programme decision, expected by end of January 2023.

"The International Paralympic Committee is now in the final stages of considering the biggest ever interest in the Games - 33 sports have submitted applications for LA28," explained World Sailing CEO David Graham.

"We have seen undeniable Para Sailing success stories this year against a backdrop of incredible global expansion of the sport.

"Sailing is a close-knit, global community - regardless of the outcome of our #BacktheBid campaign to reinstate sailing in the Paralympics, World Sailing has wholeheartedly committed to the future of Para Sailing," Graham concluded.

World Sailing submitted its bid for Paralympic reinstatement in July, with Graham reflecting on the importance of Para Sailing as a sport for all, offering athletes across the entire classification spectrum the opportunity to compete at the top level. In the last three years, Para Sailors with high support needs have secured 44% of Para Sailing World Championship top ten places.

Para Sailing Development Programme - vital to growth

World Sailing's global Para Sailing growth has gone from strength to strength thanks to its Para Sailing Development Program (PDP) created in 2017.

Over 210 sailors and coaches from 39 countries on six continents have now completed the program, making a massive impact on inclusion and global participation.

In 2022 alone, programs in the Sultanate of Oman, Singapore, Japan and Italy - where Para Kiteboarding was featured for the first time - have seen a total of 40 sailors and 31 coaches from 14 nations, including Cambodia, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Malta represented for the first time.

Closing out 2022 on a high with 'double first'

World Sailing, through its ground-breaking PDP, also supported four national teams - Czechia, Estonia, Poland and Portugal - to compete in last month's RS Venture Connect World Championship, the largest Para Sailing event of 2022 with 36 teams from 18 nations and Oman's first international Para Sailing competition as the country positions itself as a para event hub, helping to accelerate development in the Gulf nations and across North Africa, East Africa and Asia.

The Championship brought the busy 2022 Para Sailing competition schedule to a close on a major high with a 'double first' - the first world title ever won by SailFree, which is the first Para Sailing programme in the Gulf run by Oman Sail in partnership with BP Oman and the Oman Paralympic Committee.

2023 - Para Sailing future is bright

Now, World Sailing is looking to 2023 to yet another history-making event - the 2023 Allianz Sailing World Championships, The Hague, from 10-20 August, where Para Sailors will compete for World titles in Hansa 303, 2.4mR and RS Venture alongside ten Olympic classes.

"Nothing has inspired me this year like the sight of our sport uniting behind our efforts to get sailing back into the Paralympics for LA28.

"From every corner of sailing, our community has been absolutely spectacular in adding their voices to the chorus of support for our #BacktheBid campaign.

"It has been a truly global movement and it has been heard loud and clear by the International Paralympic Committee," concluded Graham.

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