World Disabled Sailing Champs start.... St Petersburg, USA, today

Friday October 26th 2001, Author: Jan Harley, Location: United Kingdom

Just a year after sailing debuted as a full-medal sport at the 2000 Paralympic Games, many of the athletes making their mark in this sport have come together in St. Petersburg, Florida, to defend or reclaim championship titles.

The 2001 International Foundation of Disabled Sailing (IFDS) World Disabled Sailing Championships, co-hosted by St. Petersburg Yacht Club and Sailing Alternatives (a disabled sailing program based in Sarasota and St. Petersburg) is being held from October 24-31.

The waters of Tampa Bay will provide the stage for 65 sailors representing nine countries to compete in the boats chosen for the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens: the three-person Sonar and the singlehanded 2.4 Metre. Racing, set to begin October 26, follows two days of classification wherein the varied disabilities of each sailor is evaluated.

The classification system, refined since the Paralympics, awards each Sonar team a rating designed to equalize physical abilities among the teams; 2.4 Metre sailors compete as equals without ratings.

In the 13-boat 2.4 Metre event, Germany’s 2000 Gold Medallist Heiko Kroger and Canada’s 2000 Paralympian Danny McCoy will again face the USA’s Bronze Medallist Tom Brown.

The 16-boat Sonar event also boasts a strong turnout of 2000 Paralympians, several of whom are competing here with new crewmembers: Jens Kroker and Peter Reichl, the Sonar Silver Medallists from Germany, are joined by Dietmar Steigel; Brian MacDonald and Brian Mackie, Canada’s Sonar Bronze Medallists, are joined by Paul Tingley; Israel’s Dror Cohen and Arnon Efrati with Benny Vexler, and the Britain's Andy Cassell and Brian Harding are joined by Edward Suckling.

John Twomey, Sean McGrath and Paul McCarthy, Ireland’s Sonar Paralympic Team will also be on hand to re-acquaint themselves with the USA’s Sonar Paralympians Paul Callahan and Keith Burhans who will compete with new crew Mike Hagmaier aboard.

British entries:

Sonar (Skipper and two crew):
Andy Cassell with Brian Harding and Edward Suckling.
John Robertson crew TBA.

2.4 Metre:
Andrew Millband, Allen Smith.

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