With the IPC Executive Committee holding one of their regular meetings this weekend in Tokyo, Japan, they have confirmed that sailing and 7-a-side football will not be part of the 2020 Summer Paralympic program.
Two weeks ago, ISAF had announced a quixotic attempt to get the IPC to reconsider their sports inclusion on the Paralympic Program for 2020. This was despite the fact that the IPC had repeatedly said following their decision was not going to be re-opened, and that pathways such as the hosts asking the IPC to include the sport on the program were not available in the Paralympic movement. The IPC said there were no pathways to allow for re-inclusion.
ISAF’s pitch, despite the IPC having said no, included new leadership on the ISAF disability sailing committee. Despite this issue though, ISAF and disability sailing decided that the architect of the sport’s failure to be on the program, Bernard Destrubé, should stay on the committee. ISAF announced a new development plan, largely focused on maintaining the current participation numbers for sailing though MNAs that had the current infrastructure to support it. ISAF’s new development plan included no concrete steps nor important initiatives for how to grow the sport in developing sailing countries. They offered no bench marks to track success, nor released numbers that could give people hope for efforts for 2024 reinclusion any guidance regarding the sport’s current status, especially as it was clear that the IPC believes that IFDS numbers presented to them were a misrepresentation of actual participation numbers through counting able-bodied sailors competing in Paralympic classes and disability sailors competing in non-Paralympic classes.
7-a-side football also been active since the sport was cut from the program, and there have been some major announcements regarding continued funding or increased funding for the sport. This includes countries like Australia, which saw their football team get an increase in funding following a lot of grassroots efforts and claims of lack of equitable funding between the able-bodied side and the disability side. 7-a-side football also made the transition from being inside CPISRA to being governed by the International Federation of CP Football as of January 1. Their upcoming world championship this year includes 16 teams, 4 short of the 20 teams it needed for participation on the Paralympic program. Development plans to grow the sport are underway in countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Morocco, Tunisia and El Salvador. An under-19 national event will be held at the CPISRA World Games. 5 teams are competing in the sport at the Parapan American Games later this year. 6 teams should be participating in the Para ASEAN Games. The sport is also working on plans to make the sport more inclusive, and have announced plans to try to create a women’s game and include women as players on all levels of the sport. T