Former World Sailing president Paul Henderson has signalled his intention to return to the helm of the sport’s global governing body as he seeks to clarify its stance on the kiteboarding discipline.
Henderson served as the body’s president between 1994 and 2004, when it was known as the International Sailing Federation (ISAF). The Canadian confirmed that he would run for the presidency once more in a blog post on the Scuttlebutt Sailing News website.
In the post, Henderson cites World Sailing’s ongoing association with kiteboarding, or “kite-surfing”, as one of his reasons for wanting to return to the body.
Kiteboarding combines wakeboarding, windsurfing, surfing, paragliding and gymnastics and has grown in popularity in recent years, so much so that it was briefly granted a place on the programme of events for the 2016 summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. However its status as an Olympic sport was short-lived as the decision was overturned six months later following opposition from sailing representatives.
The International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) has claimed that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is keen on including kiteboarding at the Tokyo 2020 Games. Henderson wrote that World Sailing is being made to alter its policies to allow for kiteboarding’s inclusion. He concluded by stating that kiteboarding can develop its “convertible concepts free from the constraints of World Sailing which have evolved over the decades.”
He wrote: “Surfing is the international sport federation which kite-surfing must use to get their desire to be Olympic and not totally disrupt sailing. I trust World Sailing will go to the IOC and ask that this be the direction be followed by kite-surfing as everyone wins, but more importantly is that sailing is not totally disrupted again.”
Henderson also added: “Over the last several months I have asked for clarification and answers to several questions posed to the World Sailing staff and been told that I am just a sailor and have no position at World Sailing. The result of this staff position is that I will put forward my name again as president in hopes that I might finally get some answers.”
Current president Carlo Croce is so far the only person to announce his candidature for the next four-year term, which will run until after Tokyo 2020. Candidates must receive endorsements from at least five World Sailing member national authorities. The successful candidate will be announced during the body’s General Assembly, which takes place from November 4-13 in Barcelona, Spain.