ISAF fights back for Paralympic sailing

New committee formed led by Betsy Alison

Saturday June 6th 2015, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

ISAF has announced a new Paralympic Development Program.

The ISAF Paralympic Development Program aims to:

- Support the development of national disabled / Paralympic development programs within ISAF Member National Authorities (MNAs)
- Increase attendance by nations at events using Paralympic classes of equipment i.e Sailing World Cup / Disabled Sailing World Championships / Paralympic Games qualification events
- Increase the number of classified sailors registered within ISAF member nations;
- Enable ISAF member nations involved in the program to develop sustainable grass roots 'participation' oriented disabled sailing activity to feed 'performance' programs.
- Two practical training clinics will be delivered in 2015. The Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy in Great Britain will host the first clinic from 17-21 August 2015 whilst the second will be held in advance of the Disabled Sailing World Championships in Melbourne, Australia in November.

Costs of attending these events will be heavily subsidised by ISAF and Paralympic equipment will be provided for all sailors.

Nations invited formally to take part in the practical elements of the ISAF Paralympic Development Program must first assess the extent to which they will be able to deliver sustainable disabled sailing activities at national level, after benefitting from initial support provided by ISAF. The information provided by this self-assessment will provide ISAF with help in reviewing the position of these national federations in terms of further implementation of support for the national disabled participation / Paralympic programs.

The Paralympic Development Program is a result of extensive collaborative work carried out by the ISAF Training and Development Department and ISAF Disabled Sailing Committee (DSC), after being commissioned by the ISAF Executive Committee to develop the proposal in a direct response to the removal of sailing from the list of Sports represented in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

The ISAF Executive Committee agreed to support the delivery of the ISAF Paralympic Development Program at the 2015 Mid-Year Meeting.

ISAF President Carlo Croce said, "This is a new era for Disabled Sailing with ISAF now able to fully utilise its technical, financial, promotional and strategic resources to bring significant benefits to Disabled Sailing.

"We are now working hard to put in place a much enhanced, professional and aligned four year competition programme for Disabled Sailing, as well as generate greater media, broadcast and promotional opportunities for the sport following integration into ISAF's wider communications planning and activities.”

A newly appointed Chair and additional members of the Disabled Sailing. Betsy Alison (USA) has been appointed as Chair of the Disabled Sailing Committee. Alongside this, five new members have joined committee. Alison was a member of the previous IFDS Executive Committee and is currently a member of the Disabled Sailing Committee.

New members joining the Disabled Sailing Committee include:

Andrew Clouston (NZL) - age 33. Clouston currently works for Yachting New Zealand as the Participation and Development manager, responsible for delivery of sail training nationally, including disabled programs.Clouston is an active sailor and coach and has been involved with the ISAF Training and Development Department since November 2013, when he was appointed as an ISAF Nominated Expert.

David Staley (AUS) - age 56. Staley is the IFDS/ISAF Technical Delegate for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Sailing Competition. Staley is currently the sailing manager and PRO for the Royal Brighton Yacht Club in Melbourne, Australia. He was previously a member of the IFDS Events and Governance committees

Massimo Digne (ITA) - age 39. Digne is a member of IFDS Athletes Council, and past competitor in the 2012 London Paralympic Games in the Sonar. Digne is now racing a SKUD18.

Xian Li Schoa (CHN) - age 58. Previously a Finn sailor and is currently an International Judge, International Race Official and National Class Coach. In 2012 he was the technical adviser to the first Chinese disabled sailor.

Mazakazu Suto (JPN) - age 58. Disabled 2.4mR sailor from the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games.

The Disabled Sailing Committee is comprised of the following members:
Betsy Alison (USA) - Chairman
Andrew Clouston (NZL)
Bernard Destrubé (FRA)
Massimo Digne (ITA)
Wilfried Klein (GER)
Xian Li Schoa (CHN)
Henry Sleutel (NED)
David Staley (AUS)
Mazakazu Suto (JPN)
Brian Todd (CAN)

Newly appointed Chair Betsy Alison commented: "The Paralympic Development Program is a very thorough and succinct proposal. I am confident that with it we are now putting our best foot forward in our quest to move toward reinstatement of sailing as a full medal sport in the Paralympics.”

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