ISAF Pushing For Disabled Sailing In Tokyo 2020 Paralympics
Published: Wednesday, 03 June 2015
The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) is to campaign for Disabled Sailing's inclusion in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and has appointed VERO Communications to advise and support its campaign. ISAF is the world governing body for the sport of sailing.
The decision to press the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to add Disabled Sailing to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games comes on the back of ISAF formally taking over the management of Disabled Sailing in November 2014, and the integration of the International Association for Disabled Sailing (IFDS) into ISAF.
"Following the merger of IFDS into ISAF at the end of last year, Disabled Sailing is now under new professional management,” says ISAF President Carlo Croce. “This is a new era for Disabled Sailing with ISAF now able to fully utilise its technical, financial, promotional and strategic resources to bring significant benefits to Disabled Sailing. For example, we are now working hard to put in place a much enhanced, professional and aligned four-year competition programme for Disabled Sailing, as well as generate greater media, broadcast and promotional opportunities for the sport following integration into ISAF's wider communications planning and activities.
"These are all new developments since the merger of IFDS into ISAF and it is important that we now effectively communicate this new era for Disabled Sailing to the IPC. I'm delighted that we have the proven expertise of VERO Communications to support us in this cause.
“Our focus now is to build the case for Disabled Sailing's inclusion in Tokyo 2020, much of which will be centred around new evidence, as well as stressing some of the unique attributes of Disabled Sailing, including the fact that it is the only sport where athletes with the highest level of disability can compete equally against athletes with other disabilities. I very much hope, upon receipt of this new evidence, that the IPC will look favourably on our case.”
VERO Chairman Mike Lee OBE adds, "VERO is delighted to support ISAF in their campaign to see Disabled Sailing included in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. The sport has a strong story to tell, especially since it was merged into ISAF at the end of 2014, and we look forward to working with the sailing community to ensure that this new era for Disabled Sailing is effectively communicated.”
Sailing offers disabled people unique opportunities to participate in sport with an increasing number of countries devising specific disabled sailing programmes. The Paralympic Games is the ultimate pinnacle for disabled sailors with many varied disabilities competing on equal terms.
On hearing the decision of the IPC to not include sailing, three time Paralympian (2.4mR) and gold medallist at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, Bjornar Erikstad commented, "For the Paralympic Games, sailing should be there. In sailing you can be young, old, female, male and be on an equal playing field. It's about understanding the environment and what's around you that makes it unique. It has physical challenges and you have to be physically and mentally prepared."
In 2008, American sailor Nick Scandone was battling ALS (commonly known as Lou Gerig's Disease). Before being diagnosed Scandone was a top 470 sailor and made the switch to Paralympic sailing. In the lead up to the 2008 Paralympic Games his condition deteriorated but his quest to sail kept him pushing hard. With crew Maureen McKinnon-Tucker, Scandone went on to win the Gold Medal, an extraordinary accomplishment. Sadly Scandone passed away a few months later. His heroic feat drew huge attention to people with the disease.
Letters of support for the inclusion of Disabled Sailing in 2020 should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and will be forwarded to the IPC with a complete package of information about Paralympic sailing.