By Emily Goddard

The ISAF Disabled Sailing Committee is "profoundly disappointed" by the sport's Tokyo 2020 Paralympic exclusion ©Getty ImagesThe International Sailing Federation‎ Disabled Sailing Committee (IFDS) has said it is "profoundly disappointed" by the International Paralympic Committee's (IPC) decision to exclude sailing from Tokyo 2020. 

The sport's world governing body insisted it will work to get sailing back onto the Games programmes "as soon as possible", but hit back at IPC President Sir Philip Craven's claims that it does not meet the "minimum criteria for worldwide reach".

"IFDS ensures an extensive quadrennial programme of international competitions replicating the Olympic programme organised by the International Sailing Federation, including ISAF Sailing World Cup," read an IFDS statement.

"IFDS sanctions and organises yearly Combined World Championships in the Paralympic classes.

"Development has resulted in the regular addition of new countries to competitive sailing.

"The process of merging with ISAF (with a membership of 139 Member National Authorities) was completed in November of 2014, with the main aim of opening a whole new field for the development of disabled sailing.

"During the period of pre-merging, ISAF always respected the independence of IFDS decisions.

"Through ISAF's development programmes, worldwide participation initiatives and event structure, the opportunities for disabled sailing are better than ever before."

Sailing has been on the Paralympic programme since Sydney 2000, after being a demonstration sport at Atlanta 1996 ©Getty ImagesSailing has been on the Paralympic programme since Sydney 2000, after being a demonstration sport at Atlanta 1996 ©Getty Images

The IPC omitted sailing, along with football seven-a-side, from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic programme last Saturday (January 31) at a Governing Board meeting in Abu Dhabi.

Paralympic sport's world governing body said sailing, which has been on the programme since Sydney 2000, after being a demonstration sport at Atlanta 1996, did not fulfil the IPC Handbook's minimum criteria for worldwide reach.

This dictates that "only team sports widely and regularly practised in a minimum of 24 countries and three IPC regions will be considered for inclusion in the Paralympic Games and for individual sports a minimum of 32 countries in three IPC regions".

The IFDS said the move has left sailors, coaches, sponsors, National Governing Bodies and National Paralympic Committees "devastated".

A number of nations have criticised the IPC's decision, with Britain and the United States among those to speak out.

Individuals are also launching campaigns in a bid to have the ruling overturned, with sailor Geoff Holt - the first quadriplegic yachtsman to sail solo around Great Britain - setting up a Facebook page, which already has 11,220 likes, and fellow Briton Will Matthews setting up a petition on, which had over 11,000 supporters at the time of writing.

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February 2015: Britain leading campaign to overturn IPC decision to drop sailing from Tokyo 2020