Hosts Brazil automatically qualified for the 2016 Summer Paralympics by virtue of being hosts. At last year’s World Championships in Halifax, Canada, several countries qualified SKUD 18 boats with the final decision as to who would be on those boats up to the NPC. Countries that earned qualifying berths in various classes included Australia, Great Britain, Italy, Canada, and the United States.
The Italian boat crewed by Marco Gualandris and Marta Zanetti qualified the country for the 2016 Summer Paralympics following a bronze medal finish at the 2014 World Championships. Italy has few options, as the duo are the only internationally ranked sailors in their class. Over the years, they have steadily climbed in the rankings to more or less stablize at between second and fourth. At the moment, they rank third. They started out ranked eleventh in August 2011.
What events these sailors have been competing at in the past three months can be difficult to track. Garda and Trentino Olympic Week, which took place earlier this month and had a SKUD 18 event, has no ISAF results published on their website. ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères did not have SKUD 18 on their program. Trofeo Sar Princess Sofia, which took place in Palma de Majorca in late March and early April of this year, does not list results on the ISAF website for this class despite appearing on the program on ISAF’s website and the event is not referenced in the results of the organizers website. Oceanbridge Sail Auckland Regatta in New Zealand in March had this class on their program, but only New Zealand competitors took part.
The country has been active in all Paralympic classes on the international level. In the past few years in this class, they have competed in the 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, 2014 IFDS Combined World Championships, 2013 IFDS Combined World Championships, and Garda Trentino Olympic Week 2014.
Italy has never medaled in this class at the Paralympic Games. They did have a boat competing in this class at the 2012 Summer Paralympics.