Surfing Shifts Focus to Paralympics

(ATR) With inclusion to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, surfing now wants to join the Paris 2024 Paralympics.

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(ATR) With inclusion to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the bag, the International Surfing Association is setting its sights on the Paris 2024 Paralympics.

The ISA filed a declaration of intent to the International Paralympic Committee seeking to be added to the Paralympic program. The application follows IPC recognition of ISA as the Paralympic Federation of Para Surfing in July.

ISA could prove para surfing’s mettle and value for the Paralympic Movement with the upcoming Stance ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship in La Jolla, California. The championship has been held at the ISA headquarters each of the past two years.

The third edition of the annual championship begins on Nov. 29 and will be the largest tournament yet, featuring more than 100 athletes from 25 countries. Fewer than 70 athletes participated in the first edition of the championship. Around the Rings will be on the scene for the event.

"We are committed to the development of Para Surfing and to see it included on the Sports Programme at Paris 2024 would be an incredible success," ISA president Fernando Aguerre said in a statement. "The growth of the sport in the last few years has been inspiring to see, and we are stoked to see where we can take it in the future.

"Adaptive Surfing is a vibrant sport infused with youthful energy and high-performance qualities that we think would add great value to the Paralympic Games."

ISA now presides over 101 National Governing Bodies of surfing and has had recent success encouraging the NGBs of France, Australia, Chile, Brazil, United States and South Africa to all hold their own National Championships, according to the federation.

"The ISA is committed to inclusion, at any level, and that is why Para Surfing is so important to us," Aguerre said. "We welcome the guidance, expertise, and support of the IPC to help create the better opportunities and wider accessibility for adaptive surfers to practice and grow the sport."

The IPC Governing Board will determine the validity of ISA’s application. After receiving proposals from other para sports, the IPC will begin phase two of the application process in February 2018.

Which federations meet the technical requirements will be determined by September 2018 with a final decision on the Paris 2024 Paralympic program expected in January 2019.

Written by Kevin Nutley

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