I am writing to you out of frustration at the actions and behaviour of the leadership team at World Sailing over the past 15 months since the IPC announced last January that sailing would not be included as a Paralympic Sport for Tokyo. Whilst I was frustrated at the decision, I was one of the few people around the world who realised early on that on the basis of the information (or lack thereof) supplied by IFDS, that the decision taken was the right one.
At the time I was a member of the British Sailing Team aiming for Rio, but more realistically Tokyo, and grew increasingly frustrated as IFDS/World Sailing repeated their rhetoric that they were confident of reinstatement, until the news finally came around this time last year that they had acknowledged failure. At that point I decided to exit the team as it became increasingly likely that I would not be selected for Rio.
Throughout those 5 months, the lack of information and realistic situation updates became more and more heart breaking for me. A sport that I started 8 years before had suddenly become very political and I began to lose my love for it. A sport where I felt like I had a real opportunity to succeed had become more of a hobby to me as the goal of a gold medal was taken away. I must make it clear that I don’t blame IPC for any of this at all. I roundly blame IFDS and their dysfunctional leadership.
Over the course of the last year I have been incredibly pessimistic of sailing’s chances of reinstatement for 2024, primarily because of the fact that the majority of the leadership of IFDS are on the World Disabled Sailing committee. How exactly can it be right to expect the leadership that saw the Sport’s spectacular fall from grace, to be able to rescue it from the ashes? How can I trust the people who quite frankly failed in their duties to govern the sport effectively, to be able to put forward a strong case next time round?