On February 3, 2015, IHCA President Brendan Tourelle wrote to President Sir Philip Craven and members of the International Paralympic Committee Governing Board about their recent decision to omit sailing from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Sports program.
While pointing out this will have a devastating impact on current and aspiring Paralympic sailor, he also noted the negative effects on national programs for sailors with disabilities that will have a flow-on impacts at a provincial and local level.
He noted that Hansa class boats (the Hansa 2.3, Hansa 303, Liberty & SKUD 18) are actively sailed in 32 nations across 4 IPC regions, and that the global distribution of the Hansa classes alone appears to satisfy the IPC Handbook's requirements for individual and team sports.
President Tourelle requested that IPC urgently review its decision and reinstate sailing within the 2020 sports program, however it appears that IPC are not inclined to review the decision.
Sir Philip Craven responded within just a few hours, saying, “While we understand your disappointment, we would like to assure you that in reaching its decision, the IPC undertook the most rigorous and comprehensive review of the Paralympic sports programme to date”.
Additional information was offered to help answer some of the issues and questions raised in President Tourelle’s letter.
“Although this news may come as a shock to IHCA and its members, you will find from the information below that IFDS were made aware as early as September 2014 the concerns we had with regards to their application”, said Sir Philip..
“The submissions provided by both Sailing and Football 7-a-side failed to alleviate the concerns that both sports are currently not widely and regularly practised in the minimum number of countries as required by the IPC Handbook”.
“Both sports also display a number of other deficits which, in summary, prompted the Board to not include them in the 2020 Games. The decision taken in Abu Dhabi is final…”, he said.
He closed by suggesting that sailing “regroup, reform, rejuvenate and return” with an improved proposition when the IPC launch the next review cycle in 2018 for the 2024 Games.
View both letters below.