World Sailing, the sport’s global governing body, has taken a major step in its Paralympic quest by submitting the official bid for inclusion in the Paralympic Games Los Angeles 2028.
“Today is a pivotal moment – our LA28 offer for Para Sailing is launched.
“If our bid is successful, athletes from more than 46 countries on six continents will represent their country at one of the biggest sporting events in the world.
“Our global sailing family spoke loud and clear, coming together for #BacktheBid – to see this sport, which offers so much to so many, back at the Paralympic Games,” said David Graham, CEO of World Sailing.
World Sailing’s ambition to re-enter the Paralympic Games began when it was retired after Rio 2016.
“Now the International Paralympic Committee Board has the difficult task of evaluating applications from international federations vying for a place on the LA28 Games plan, which currently considers 22 Paralympic sports – the same number as Rio, Tokyo and Paris – but now with more sports looking for inclusion. Our work is far from done,” Graham explained.
More like this
Spotlight on the parasailing bid
The rapid global growth of Para Sailing, the highly targeted approach World Sailing is taking to increase the number of female Para Sailers, and the fact that the sport is highly inclusive place it under consideration by the International Paralympic Committee, who will finally decide in January 2023.
“Para-sailing is thriving despite a difficult few years for the sport worldwide,” Graham said. “We now have active Para Sailors in 41 countries on five continents. Our dedicated Para Sailing Development Program (PDP), created in 2017, has played a key role. We kicked off 2022 with our first PDP to be held in the Sultanate of Oman and just a week ago we held our first ever PDP Para Kiteboarding.
Parasailing is one of the most inclusive sports there is with 44% of the top 10 sailors at the Para World Championships having high support needs.
Sailing is also one of the few sports where men and women can compete side by side and against each other on equal terms – World Sailing’s bid for LA28 reflects this with mixed male and female crews offered, or fleets, in the three suggested classes. .
The Paralympic ambition of parasailing
World Sailing officially launched its Paralympic re-entry campaign last October, backed by world-renowned sailors and sports personalities.
The youngest Swedish athlete to ever compete in the Paralympic Games – sailor Fia Fjelddahl – was 17 when she was chosen as the flag bearer for the Rio 2016 closing ceremony:
“Six years later – two Games cycles later – I still can’t put into words what it’s like to carry Sweden’s flag in Rio,” said the sustainable engineering student.
“Our sport is booming. As sailors, we have a special affinity with what surrounds us – we constantly listen and find solutions to our natural environment and society. We have a lot to give to the Paralympic Games, as everyone seeks to explore the meaning of sport and how it can improve the world we all live in.
Sir Ben Ainslie CBE, the most successful sailor in Olympic history, winning medals at five consecutive Olympic Games from 1996 – including gold at the four Games held between 2000 and 2012 – is clear about his desire to see Paralympic sailors compete in Los Angeles:
“Sailing is so inclusive and gives so many people the opportunity to really work as a team, regardless of their physical abilities. This is why it is essential that sailing returns to the Paralympic Games for LA28.
The future of parasailing
In February, the International Paralympic Committee held a much-anticipated session with international federations targeting LA28, outlining the terms and timing – shortly after his participation, Graham announced that it was one of World Sailing’s priorities.
“I said it in February, and I’ll say it again now – our parasailing strategy is fully aligned with the IPC guiding principles, we can meet the criteria and demonstrate that parasailing is one of the most inclusive, diverse and universal sports on the planet today.
“As parasailing has continued to grow since Rio and transform lives around the world, we are fully aware of how much the inclusion of the Paralympic Games helps to move parasport forward – from grassroots to high-level competition. This is why our determination to return to the Games is so strong.
“One thing is certain – the Chairman, Board, Council and staff of World Sailing are fully committed to the continued development of para-sailing. This will continue, regardless of the outcome of our LA28 application,” concludes Graham.