If you’re a disabled sailor, you can forget the Olympics

paralympics
Fabrizio Olmi and Davide Di Maria, Paralympic athletes who won the 2019 RS Venture World Championship. Very young Di Maria’s dream: “To participate in the Paralympics.”

Black smoke. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has rejected an application by World Sailing (the world sailing federation) to readmit sailing as a discipline to the Los Angeles 2028 Paralympic Games.

Sailing still excluded from 2028 Paralympics

Already excluded from the Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024 Paralympics (following a decision that matured in 2018), athletes with disabilities will not be able to compete for medals. Participating in the Olympics is every sportsman’s dream. For now, para sailors are denied this dream, represented precisely by the Paralympics.

What happened? Sailing was “lost” among so many new disciplines that applied for admission (as many as 33 new ones were submitted, all of which were rejected because the 22 disclipines admitted were the same as those of Paris 2024), and the reasons for the “no” vote should be found, according to the IPC, in the lack of innovation in Paralympic sailing classes and a modest presence of female para athletes.

What will become of all the – very good – Italian athletes who have raced all these years on Paralympic classes, such as the single 2.4 mR (with the excellent results of our Antonio Squizzato), the Skud 18, monotype for double crew, and Sonar, for crew racing? In an interview, 20-year-old Davide Di Maria, who had won the World Paralympic Class RS Venture together with Fabrizio Olmi in 2019 (and whom we had honored in the 2020 Sailor of the Year), said the Paralympics is his dream. Like that of so many Italian para athletes who are making their bones on the aforementioned classes (and theHansa 303).

The numbers are there

Certainly, in recent years world sailing has not been sitting on its hands. World Sailing launched the Paralympic Sailing Development Program (PDP) after its exclusion following Rio 2016, involving hundreds and hundreds of para athletes from so many nations, from Cambodia to Iran, Italy to Malta.

After the “backthebid” campaign to turn the spotlight on Paralympic sailing in 2021, there are now as many as 41 active nations on five continents in Paralympic classes and 630 active para athletes registered with World Sailing.

So much for the much-vaunted inclusion.

Paralympics, the 22 disciplines admitted

For the record, there are currently 22 disciplines on the calendar for Los Angeles 2028:

1. Badminton
2. Boccia
3. Blind football
4. Goalball
5. Judo
6. Canoe
7. Riding
8. Tennistavolo
9. Wheelchair tennis
10. Fencing
11. Basketball
12. Archery
13. Athletics
14. Weightlifting
15. Sitting volleyball
16. Swimming
17. Rowing
18. Sharpshooting
19. Taekwondo
20. Triathlon
21. Wheelchair rugby
22. Cycling/Handbike

Let’s hope the waters are moving ahead of Brisbane 2032….

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