By Emily Goddard

The IFDS has hit back at leaked documents following sailing's exclusion from Tokyo 2020 Paralympics ©Getty ImagesThe International Sailing Federation‎ Disabled Sailing Committee (IFDS) has slammed the leaking of a series of "outrageously false and damaging" documents online that claim to show why the sport was excluded from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

IFDS vice-president Bernard Destrubé responded to a post on the Reinstate Paralympic Sailing into 2020 Games Facebook page that alleged to uncover "damning evidence" that the world governing body "single-handedly managed to wipe our sport from the Paralympic programme" by failing to demonstrate its universality.

The Facebook page also claims, "the IFDS Committee were not fit for purpose and their submission to IPC (International Paralympic Committee) was flawed".

However, Destrubé refuted the allegations and said the leaked documents are "outdated, and blatantly irrelevant to the final decisions taken by IPC" as they were an early draft not meant for publication.

Indeed, he said his organisation has yet to receive the official review documents it was promised when the IPC announced the sport would miss out on a place at Tokyo 2020 last month and that considerable improvements have been made since the preliminary evaluation was made.

"IPC writes, interprets, and applies its regulations in an autonomous manner, and it would be inappropriate and disrespectful to continue discussing their evaluation of worldwide reach," Destrubé added.

"If IPC wished to keep sailing as a Paralympic sport, the figures may have been analysed differently.

"Of greater importance, is understanding why IPC does not want to keep sailing as a sport in the Paralympics."

He went on to suggest that the media has not yet captured the appealing aspects of Paralympic sailing.

Bernard Destrubé responded to a post on the Reinstate Paralympic Sailing into 2020 Games Facebook page ©Bernard Destrubé/FacebookBernard Destrubé responded to a post on the Reinstate Paralympic Sailing into 2020 Games Facebook page ©Bernard Destrubé/Facebook

"Following London 2012, statistics showed that a cumulated global audience of 3.8 billion watched the Games, whilst 2.78 million tickets were sold," Destrubé said.

"How many hours of television coverage were dedicated to the Paralympic sailing event?

"Very few.

"How many tickets were sold to watch the Weymouth event?


Destrubé concluded by rallying support for Paralympic sailing.

"Sailing will be back in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, if each and all of us feeds back information to make IPC want sailing back in the Games," he said.

"Produce exciting photos, moving stories, encourage compelling letters from your national sailing federations, get signatures on the petition.

"Use your network to get personal contacts so that each decision-maker of IPC will want sailing back.

"Let us cease the mutiny raging on Facebook and elsewhere, adjust the ship's course, trim the sails, and show the world that Paralympic sailing is a unique sport, unquestionably the most inclusive sport of the Games.

"A sport that allows the most severely disabled athletes rise to the highest podium as in the SKUD event in Beijing [2008].

"A sport where women and men compete with and against each other.

"A sport where no physical or vision disability cannot be overcome by appropriate adaptations and teamwork."

The International Sailing Federation said it has conducted a thorough review of the IPC's decision and President Carlo Croce will now lead the campaign to get the sport reinstated on the Paralympic programme "at the first possible opportunity".

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