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3 December 2004, 10:45 am
IFDS Launches Disabled Sailing Conference on UN Day of Disabled
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International Foundation For Disabled Sailing
Schipol, Netherlands

The IFDS Young Enabled Sailors Europe - YES Europe - Conference got underway this morning in Schipol, Amsterdam. With 115 delegates from 33 nations in attendance, the Conference is unprecedented in Paralympic sport and is set to be a landmark in disabled sailing. IFDS is the first Paralympic sport to host a conference of this size, which has attracted delegates from around the world.
The Conference was formally opened this morning by the Chairman of the IFDS Development Committee, Pauline HARRISON. The IFDS YES Europe Conference brings together National sailing associations, disabled sailing programmes and countries - who together will share technical knowledge of sailing, disability awareness and knowledge of how things work and best practice in their respective countries. The objective of the Conference is to pool expertise to develop disabled sailing.

The IFDS YES Europe Conference has been made possible through the 'European Year of Education Through Sport', which has provided IFDS with a grant. The International Paralympic Committee and International Sailing Federation have also supported the Conference. The IFDS YES Europe Conference has also taken the theme 'European Year of Youth and Trans-national Co-operation' which focuses on working together across national border for the future of our sport - the youth.

Co-incidentally, Friday 3 December is the United Nations Day of Disabled People - which is focusing on widening disability awareness and improving life for disabled people.

This event is a first for IFDS, and only made possible by EU grant and co-operation of all delegates.

Today's workshops are focusing on:

  • Sailing Venues
  • Potential Sailors
  • Young Volunteers
  • Training/Coaching
  • Boats
  • Servo/Assist
  • Classification
  • Disability Awareness
  • Fund Raising
  • Setting up a National Disabled Sailing Association
  • Youth and Disabled Sailing

Leading experts from disabled sailing will chair each workshop, which will be followed by a question and answer session.

The overriding message this morning from the IFDS was that Sailing for people with disabilities is possible regardless of age or disability. 'Sailing is a sport for all, and a sport for life.'

ISAF will bring you reports throughout the Conference.

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