World Sailing has today published its Para World Sailing Strategic Plan for 2017-2020 as the sport seeks re-introduction into the Paralympic Sports Programme for the 2024 Games.
The plan was unveiled today at the Para World Sailing Forum at the 2016 Annual Conference in Barcelona in Spain and outlines the strategic goals and tactics the world governing body will adopt until 2020.
Sailing was axed from the Paralympic schedule for Tokyo 2020, with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) ruling the sport did not fulfil minimum criteria for worldwide reach.
This dictates that "only team sports widely and regularly practiced in a minimum of 24 countries and three IPC regions will be considered for inclusion in the Paralympic Games and for individual sports a minimum of 32 countries in three IPC regions".
It left Rio 2016 as the sport’s final Paralympics Games unless reinstatement efforts are successful, with Italy’s Massimo Dighe subsequently appointed as Para World Sailing Manager in May to lead the efforts for 2024.
"Sailing's removal from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games Sports Programme in January 2015 deeply saddened the sailing community,” said World Sailing President Carlo Croce.
“It was a great loss for Paralympic sport as a whole because Paralympic sailing allows a multitude of disabilities to compete on a level playing field.
"Action needed to be taken by World Sailing and the strategic goals that we have outlined today will ensure that sailing can put a strong bid together for re-introduction into the Paralympic Sports Programme for 2024.”
The plan has four main goals.
The first is to increase worldwide participation to 40 nations on four continents by the end of 2020 while the second is to expand competition, female and youth participation.
Effective marketing & communications to increase engagement with Para World Sailors and sailing fans is another key point while the fourth area concerns ensuring that there is a sound governance framework in the discipline.
Dighe, a London 2012 Paralympian, presented the strategic plan to an online audience and delegates in attendance.
"The IPC's decision to remove sailing from the Paralympic Games Sports Programme was taken mainly because the sport did not meet the criteria laid out in the IPC Handbook's minimum criteria for worldwide reach," the Italian said.
"The sport needed to react and take a proactive, forward thinking approach to reinstate and ensure a sustainable future for Paralympic sailing at future Games.
"Although the removal of Paralympic sailing was of a great disappointment, we now have an opportunity under a new strategic vision to grow the sport, innovate and promote.”