Sailing at the Paralympic Games

Sailing was included in the 1996 Athens games as a demonstration sport, and then debuted as a medal sport in the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games. This is after the sport really took off in the 1980s and became increasingly popular. As a result, it is now practiced in more than 70 countries around the world. Athletes with any physical impairments can compete, and there are 4 different classes; stability, hand function, mobility and vision.

Initially only the 2.4mR and Sonar events were introduced at the Sydney games. At the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, SKUD 18, a new event, was included. The 2.4mR event must have one sailor, the Sonar event must have two sailors, and the SKUD 18 event must have three sailors. Also, in the SKUD 18 class, there must be at least one female sailor per boat. As for the other two events, there are no specific gender requirements.

Each event had up to 11 different races. Athletes earn a point for their position, e.g. 1 for first, 2 for second etc. After all the events, each teams score is added up (apart from their worst score), to give an overall. The gold medal goes to the sailor or team of sailors with the lowest overall points.

Even though sailing has been gaining in popularity, it seems that the IPC see no future for it in the Paralympic Games, at least not in Japan. They decided, to exclude sailing from Tokyo 2020, which the International Sailing Federation are currently appealing.

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