Portsmouth, R.I. (January 26, 2006) – A top finish by U.S. sailor Nick Scandone (Fountain Valley, Calif.) at the World Disabled Sailing Championship has qualified the U.S.A. to compete in the 2008 Paralympic Games in the singlehanded 2.4mR class. Organized by the International Federation for Disabled Sailing (IFDS) and held in Perth, Australia, the top seven finishing countries qualified for berths to the 2008 Paralympic Games. Nick Scandone finished in fifth place out of a fleet of 19 boats.
Conditions on the Swan River, where the competition was held, were challenging for the sailors, with fluky winds that changed patterns frequently. Today, the final day of the event, Scandone finished 1-10-3, enough to climb to fifth place overall and qualify the U.S.A. Scandone has been a major player in the 2.4mR class in the last few years: last fall he won the 2.4mR Open World Championship and earlier this month was named US SAILING’s Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. Scandone was joined on the race course by Roger Cleworth (Lithia, Fla.), who also sailed a successful regatta finishing in eighth place overall, and by US Disabled Sailing Team coach Betsy Alison (Newport, R.I.).
Qualifying events for the two other Paralympic classes–the new doublehanded UD-18 and the triplehanded Sonar–will be determined by the IFDS.
While Scandone qualified the U.S.A., he may not be the ultimate representative at the 2008 Paralympics. In sailing, the U.S. Paralympic Team Trials are a winner-takes-all regatta – with only the winner of each event earning a coveted spot on the 2008 U.S. Paralympic Sailing Team. The U.S. Paralympic Team Trials for Sailing will be hosted by the Rhode Island Sailing Foundation in the fall of 2007.
2008 Paralympic Games – The Paralympic Games will be held in Beijing, China, from September 6-17, 2008. The Paralympic Regatta will be held in Qingdao, a city located about 430 miles southeast of Beijing, and uses the same facilities which will be used at the Olympic Regatta one month earlier.
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