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World Sailing announces landmark strategy targeting a Paralympic return

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World Sailing is targeting a return to the Paralympic Games after publishing its first Para Inclusive Strategy which will guide the growth of the sport through to 2029.

The Para Inclusive Strategy focuses on growing Para Sailing in collaboration with Member National Authorities (MNAs), major events, and within the structure of the world governing body of sailing to deliver a more inclusive sport and increase the number of countries participating in Para Sailing.

David Graham, World Sailing CEO, said, “We remain steadfast in our commitment to the development of Para Inclusive Sailing and to our long-term goal of global development which includes being reinstated in the Paralympic Games.

“The Para Inclusive Strategy shows a way forward for our members, as well as clubs, class associations and sailors to maximise the potential of Para Sailing and increase participation around the world.

“We are proud to state repeatedly: sailing is a sport for all, regardless of ability or experience, and our vision for Para Inclusive Sailing is designed to ensure everyone can enjoy life on the water.”

Hannah Stodel, World Sailing’s Para Sailing Manager and a four-time Paralympian, added, “This is an opportunity for the entire sport to reimagine how we engage with sailors, remove the barriers to participation and make sailing truly inclusive for all.

“We know sailing empowers disabled people to live fuller lives off the water and this strategy focuses on what is most important to our community – building a strong foundation to increase participation based on inclusivity, social impact and change, with the ambition to secure reinstatement to the Paralympic Games.”

Stodel added: “At last year’s Allianz Sailing World Championships in The Hague, Para Sailing was included for the first time with huge success – we’re now heading into a busy Para World Sailing and national Para Inclusive Sailing season around the world: this is an exciting time for our sport, for everyone regardless of physical capability.”

Over the past five years, the number of nations with sailors participating in international Para sailing competitions has increased by 30%. Significant progress has also been made in developing resources and creating regional development hubs through the Inclusive Development Program.

In the next five years, World Sailing will:

  • Sustain its worldwide reach of well over the 32 countries across three IPC regions required for inclusion in the Paralympic Games
  • Create a comprehensive quadrennial competition calendar of Para Inclusive events
  • Deliver Para Inclusive disciplines as part of the World Sailing Championships in Valencia in 2026 and Gdynia in 2027
  • Maintain alignment with the IPC Athlete Classification Code while continuing to innovate
  • Ensure the highest standards of governance including a robust anti-doping program that encompasses education as well as athlete testing

World Sailing is also encouraging the implementation of the Safesport program within all Para Inclusive events to make sure the sport is recognised as a welcoming and safe sport where anyone can participate.

The Para Inclusive Strategy 2024-2029 is available to download in full here.

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