The International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) will submit a bid to have Para-bobsleigh and Para-skeleton included on the Winter Paralympic Games Programme at Beijing 2022, insidethegames has been told.
The IBSF have been invited to apply by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) after they opened the application process for the Games in seven years’ time on October 1.
There are currently six sports on the Programme for Pyeongchang 2018 – Alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ice sledge hockey, snowboard and wheelchair curling – and the IPC have set a limit of seven for Beijing 2022.
The announcement raised the prospect of another sport being added to the Winter Paralympics and the IBSF were widely expected to launch a bid as they are the only other IPC-recognised Winter Sports Federation other than the six already on the Programme.
“The IBSF Para-sport Committee had been anticipating this invitation following meetings with IPC senior management in June, and the Committee is currently working very hard to insure timely submission of our application which is due 1 March 2016,” an IBSF statement sent to insidethegames said.
“This invitation marks a major milestone on a journey that began formally in 2010 when then-newly-elected IBSF President Ivo Ferriani formed the Para-sport Committee to pursue the goal of inclusion of our sports in the Paralympic Winter Games.”
International Olympic Committee member and two-time skeleton Olympian Adam Pengilly had told insidethegames in December that the IBSF were “very optimistic” of having a strong candidature and having their bid ready for 2022.
They had originally targeted Pyeongchang 2018 but the IPC put the brakes on this enthusiasm, although President Sir Philip Craven had suggested it “could be a Paralympic sport in the future”.
Paralympic events in bobsleigh and skeleton were only pioneered as a concept in 2012, with the sports’ governing body raising the prospect of them being included in the South Korean resort, potentially as a demonstration sport.
A first-ever Para-skeleton World Cup was held in November 2014, while the maiden Para-Bobsleigh World Cup, won by Britain’s Corie Mapp, took place in January of this year.
“We have worked hard in the past five years to ensure that Para-sport is fully integrated in the well-established and traditional IBSF sports,” IBSF President Ferriani said.
“I want to thank our Para-sport Committee for the enthusiasm and engagement they show every day.
“But above all I want to thank our Para-sport athletes who are the greatest.
“We have another five months ahead of us and therefore we will put all our efforts into the application process.”
Sports must meet a number of criteria laid down by the IPC if they are to be selected, including global reach, where they need to be “widely and regularly practised in a minimum of 12 countries in three regions”.
Other prerequisites are that they must have a quadrennial competition programme, as well as athlete classification, an anti-doping programme, rules and regulations and proper sport governance.
October 2015: Sport application process for Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympic Games launched by IPC
December 2014: Exclusive: Sliding sports "very optimistic" about 2022 Winter Paralympic inclusion prospects
November 2014: First ever Para-skeleton World Cup won by British ex-serviceman
February 2014: IPC puts brakes on sliding sports inclusion in Pyeongchang 2018
February 2014: FIBT begin drive for Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympics