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World Sailing launches reinstatement bid for 2028 Los Angeles Paralympic Games

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-10-27 10:48

TOKYO - World Sailing, the world governing body for sailing, on Tuesday officially kicked off their campaign for the sport to be reinstated at the 2028 Los Angeles Paralympic Games.

The London-based organization has outlined a set of strategic priorities to support the growth of the sport by 2023, which could help increase worldwide participation to 45 countries and regions.

Focusing on diversity, inclusion, affordability, development, and increasing the number of open and Parasailing events are all part of World Sailing's framework to build on the success of Parasailing, it said in a statement.

"We are on track to achieve our strategic priorities by 2023 and we are taking nothing for granted," said David Graham, CEO of World Sailing.

Graham said that the growth of Parasailing has been increasing at an unprecedented pace.

"Over the past five years, the number of nations with Para sailors participating in international Para sailing competitions has increased by 30%," he said. "Our international Para sailing athletes are some of the most accomplished sailors in the world who are inspiring the next generation."

At the recent World Championships held from Oct. 2-9, 181 Para sailors representing 23 countries and regions took part. Among them was Xu Jingkun, the first Chinese to circumnavigate the world on a 44-foot catamaran from 2017-2020.

Xu Jingkun, who lost his left hand when he was playing fireworks at the age of 12, expects that sailing can return to the Paralympic program in 2028 and that will encourage more people to take up the sport and care more about the disabled people in his country.

"Through the Paralympic Games, more people will pay attention to sailing for the disabled, and more people will have the opportunity to take up sailing. When a Chinese athlete with a disability wants to try this sport, he will find it much easier."

The 32-year-old Xu competed in the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games and went on to take part in several World Championships for the able-bodied. He finished fourth in the 2017 worlds in Germany.

Spanish Para sailor Gabriel Barroso de Maria echoed Xu's view, saying, "Sailing's inclusiveness really stands out as a powerful lesson for our entire society: equality is possible on the water, and should be everywhere else.

"World Sailing and our global sailing community does not make the distinction between athletes who are able-bodied and those who are not - we all compete together, with the same rules. What really matters is personal skill.

World Sailing's bid for reinstatement of Parasailing at the 2024 Paris Paralympics failed but President Li Quanhai said it is a "critical task" for them to reinstate Parasailing in the Paralympics.

"We must pro-actively coordinate with the International Paralympic Committee to further understand the entry standards and requirements, and I am in direct contact with the IPC President on this matter as we continue our work towards reinstatement at the Los Angeles Games in 2028."

Parasailing was a Paralympic sport for five consecutive Games from Sydney 2000 to Rio 2016 but was dropped from Tokyo 2020.

World Sailing submitted a reinstatement bid for Paris 2024, but was rejected. Enditem

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