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Bobsleigh set for place in Beijing’s Paralympic Games programme

Bobsleigh is poised to be added to the sports programme for the 2022 winter Paralympic Games after the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) provisionally approved its inclusion for the event in Beijing, China.

Bobsleigh is set to line-up alongside the six existing Paralympic winter sports – alpine skiing, biathlon, cross country skiing, ice sledge hockey, snowboard and wheelchair curling – which were formally approved by the IPC Governing Board yesterday (Monday) to be part of the Beijing 2022 programme.  

However, the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation’s (IBSF) application for skeleton to be included in the Games was not successful due to the IPC stating that the sport does not fulfil a number of the criteria needed.

For bobsleigh to be given full approval for inclusion in Beijing 2022, the sport must meet a number of minimum requirements laid out by the IPC Governing Board in both the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons.

In each of the two seasons, the sport must host at least six World Cup races plus a World Championships. A minimum of 12 nations from at least three regions should also be participating each year. The decision is subject to final written approval by both the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Beijing 2022 Organising Committee.

IPC president Sir Philip Craven said: “As a relatively young and growing sport within the Paralympic Movement, bobsleigh currently does not fulfil all the criteria required for full inclusion in the Games which is why we have stipulated a number of measures for the sport to meet over the coming years.

“We are always looking to freshen up the Paralympic sports programme and grow the size and scale of the winter Games.  Providing the IBSF can meet the conditions we have outlined then bobsleigh will be a welcome addition to the Games in 2022.”

The IBSF’s para-sports committee was founded in 2010 and immediately began work on acceptance of the disciplines on the programme of the Paralympic winter Games. In 2014, the IPC awarded the IBSF the status of recognised international sports federation. The first official IBSF Para-Sport World Cup was held in the 2014-15 season, and the first IBSF Para-Sport World Championships were staged in Park City, USA in 2016.

“We are thrilled by the decision of the IPC to accept bobsleigh in the Paralympic Programme – this shows the excellent work the IBSF has done in the past five years in preparing this sport for inclusion in the Paralympic sports programme,” Ivo Ferriani, president of the IBSF, said.

“At the same time we were informed that the IPC did not accept our application for skeleton to be integrated in the Paralympic Games which is a great disappointment for all our Para-skeleton athletes and the IBSF itself. But the IBSF is fully committed to work closely with the IPC to further develop Para-skeleton, and we will apply again at the earliest appropriate opportunity.”

In other news, the IPC Governing Board has provisionally approved the Aomi venue for football five-a-side competition during the Tokyo 2020 summer Paralympic Games.

Since April, Tokyo 2020 has been conducting feasibility studies regarding potential venues for the sport with IBSA, the international federation for football five-a-side. The Aomi venue was also recently announced as the potential venue for the skateboarding and sport climbing competitions for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the IOC Session and will be proposed to the IOC Executive Board for its final approval in December.