IOC Snr Vice President slams latest WS Board Proposal

Ng Ser Miang, Senior Vice President of the International Olympic Committee and former World Sailing Vice President, has hit back at the last minute Submission introduced by the Board of World Sailing.

This lifts the mis-management and misinformation of the 2024 Sailing Olympic Events and Equipment to a new and very serious level, as it clearly has a level of visibility within the IOC which had not previously been confirmed.

As previously reported, the World Sailing Submission proposed a Mixed Gender Doublehanded Keelboat, non-foiling and 6-10metres long, to be sailed in an event format yet to be defined and in a class which it was hoped to get sponsored.

Ser Miang writes on his Facebook page: “During the mid-year meeting in May this year, the World Sailing Council received more than 60 submissions on the 2024 Olympic events, 13 of them were debated on and, after a prolonged process and 7 rounds of voting, it took a decision. Now, barely 5 months later the World Sailing Board decided that one of the events cannot work and is proposing to change that. What sort of process is this? Lack of leadership? Cherry picking? Commercial interests manipulation?

“A mixed two person keelboat offshore event that will go on for 48 hours? A liberal interpretation of Regulation 23? The reasons given in this submission paper are pretty strange.

1) That the mixed one person dinghy event is not workable, then why was it put forward in the midyear meeting and approved after due process?

2) Keelboat has a long history in the Olympic programme, but not offshore!!

3) 50% of sailors in the world compete in offshore keelboats ?! Fake data?! 49 countries in the world are landlocked, many non-landlock countries do not have offshore racing. The huge costs and logistic of offshore racing is not comparable to dinghy racing. The maritime traffic in many parts of the world do not make offshore racing easy.

4) The reasonable costs of supplied equipment is pretty humorous. Will the boat manufacturing be prepared to supply free keelboats for participating MNAs to train and qualified their sailors???

5) My understanding from broadcasters is that the event will be complex and expensive to cover. I do not think it is necessary to go into other “reasons” in the paper. In a note dated 15 Oct sent by Andy Hunt, CEO of World Sailing, he warned of expensive litigations should anyone try to change the Nov decision on Olympic equipment. I find this very strange as in the same breath, the Board is trying to change decision of the Council made in May?!

“Further, even if the Board will manage to make the Council change its May decision, how will the Council decide on which offshore keelboat at this Annual Meeting? Unless someone has already decided which keelboat will be designated? If this is not the case and like all Olympic equipment that has to be well tested and universally accepted, then the decision has to be deferred. Should the same not apply to all other untested equipment proposed?

“The Olympic Games is not a testing ground for new experiment. The complexity of our sport cannot be an excuse for not following principles and protecting the integrity of our sport and most importantly our sailors. In most of the Olympic IFs, the National Federations form the supreme body of their sport. Sailing is no different, classes and equipment manufacturers are important partners, but they are not National Federations. It is time for the MNAs to be involved and to take charge.”

As delegates and observers gather for the Annual Conference of World Sailing, leading US sailing website Sailing Illustrated ran a special show at 2000UTC yesterday featuring former World sailing President Paul Henderson who has been a leading critic of World Sailing’s proposals.

In a further development overnight, Sail-World understands that an invitation only briefing is being held for Council members and others ahead of the formal meetings. It is not known what is being disclosed or why World Sailing, if reported correctly, are seeing fit to only invite some Council members.

Story by Richard Gladwell of sail-world.com

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