Yesterday, ISAF made the announcement that several new members were announced as joining the Disability Sailing Committee. These appointments include New Zealander Andrew Clouston, Australian David Staley, Italian Massio Gine, Chinese Xian Li Schoa and Japanese Mazakazu Suto. ISAF’s committee though still contains Bernard Destrube, IFDS’s failed leader of the 2020 Paralympic Program inclusion campaign.
The numbers provided by then IFDS President John Towney to the IPC did not add up to the minimal IPC requirements for the sport’s inclusion on the program, and there is scant evidence that some of the countries on the list provided by Towney and Destrube were actively competing in the sport in the period requested by the IPC. Neither ISAF nor IFDS have ever provided an explanation as to how they got the totals they provided the IPC, nor explained if they deliberately misrepresented these numbers or if they were confused about the ability to include events they were not responsible for and if the IFDS were allowed to count able-bodied sailors and non-Paralympic boats in arriving at their numbers.
Destrubé, who was the IFDS committee member in charge of the Paralympics, has publicly stated that there was some attempt on his part to manipulate participation numbers in the face of not meeting the Paralympic inclusion criteria by claiming that sailing was a team sport, and 20 participating countries should be used instead of 32 actively participating countries. MNAs have also said that Destrubé kept them in the dark and openly lied to them about their concerns about low participation numbers.
John Towney has resigned, but Bernard Destrubé is still on the Committee. ISAF has stated that they are again working to try to get back on the 2020 Paralympic Program, and disability sailing is now professional. With the leader of the failed bid who was either so woefully ignorant of the criteria that he failed to meet them or who lied about participation numbers to the IPC, ISAF is asking the IPC to reconsider their decision.