Sailing Federation of Ukraine [SFU] is more concerned about a land dispute with Russia over Crimea where the Paralympic Center is located than the disability sailing’s exclusion from the 2020 Summer Paralympics.
ParaSport News sent a question about how the IPC’s decision had impacts on the sport in the country to SFU via email last week. The federation told that it is very difficult to organize overall activities for para-athletes at the training centre in Yevpatoria, Crimea, due to Russia’s annexation of the peninsula.
“This fact is affecting the disability sailing most at this point. If this situation lasts longer, we will lose our sailors, because it is impossible to arrange sailing activities without particular facilities in Ukraine,” SFU said in the email.
SFU has three 2.4m keelboats. Although it did not specify the number of sailors, it said that several sailors use them.
The federation did not know about the exclusion from Tokyo 2020 until it was informed by Ukraine’s NPC. It handed in the answers of the IFDS survey in February, but has not heard further explanation yet.
Ukraine established the Paralympic Center in Yevpatroia, Crimea in 2002. The centre has various sports facilities including five swimming pools, gym, football fields and athletics stadium for javelin. The country made its Paralympic debut at Atlanta 1996, and showed remarkable improvements over the years, thanks to its training center for para-athletes. It became the fourth-place finisher in the medal table with total 84 medals at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, following China, Russia and Great Britain.
Although the Paralympic Center is still under the authority of Ukraine amid the Russia’s occupation of Crimea since March 2014, Crimean athletes are allowed to train in the center.