Para bobsleigh will not be added to the Milan Cortina 2026 programme ©IBSF

Bobsleigh will not be included at the Milan Cortina 2026 Winter Paralympics, with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) determining that minimum criteria for the number of nations regularly participating in the sport has not been met.

The International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) had been lobbying for its inclusion, but the IPC Board has decided against that.

IBSF President Ivo Ferriani termed that "an extremely disappointing decision".

Twelve nations need to be regularly practicing a sport at a high level for it to meet eligibility criteria for the Paralympics, and Para bobsleigh athletes as well as the IBSF had hoped it would be judged to have fulfilled this.

However, only 10 nations have regularly practiced the sport over the past four years in the eyes of the IPC.

"The IPC Governing Board decided not to include Para bobsleigh in the Milano Cortina 2026 Paralympic Winter Games after the sport fell short of the minimum criteria required in terms of global participation over the last four seasons," IPC President Andrew Parsons said.

"In our review of documentation provided by IBSF, 10 countries can be considered as widely and regularly practising the sport over the last four seasons. 

"This is two short of the minimum criteria for inclusion in the Paralympic Winter Games.

"I know this will be understandably disappointing news to the Para bobsleigh community. 

"However, the sport should be encouraged that if it can maintain the participation levels it had during the 2019-2020 season when 16 nations took part in performance competitions, it will be in a strong position for inclusion in the 2030 edition of the Games."

The IPC had deferred a decision on Para bobsleigh when it announced the first 18 medal events for the 2026 Games in Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo in December.

Switzerland's Christopher Stewart - a European champion in the monobob - is one of the leading campaigners to have bobsleigh added to the Paralympic programme ©IBSF
Switzerland's Christopher Stewart - a European champion in the monobob - is one of the leading campaigners to have bobsleigh added to the Paralympic programme ©IBSF

All five sports from Beijing 2022 - Alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ice hockey and wheelchair curling - retained their places on the programme.

IBSF President Ferriani has vowed to follow-up on the decision with the IPC.

"The IBSF has a strong commitment to Parasport and will continue so in the future," Ferriani added.

"We all know how important it is for all Para athletes to be accepted in the Paralympic program for their national fund programs. 

"Most of our athletes are self-funded with a great financial and operational support from the IBSF side. 

"Para bobsleigh shows gender equity by not making a difference between a female or male athlete but having both gender slide with the same equipment and under the same conditions in one race. 

"We will not give up fighting for our sports."

The IBSF has been recognised by the IPC as the International Federation for Para Bobsleigh since 2014.

IBSF Para World Cups have been held since the 2014-15 season, and World Championships annually since 2016 - with the exception of 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Twelve nations competed in every race of the 2019-2020 World Cup season.

International Para Sliding Club President Christopher Stewart in December told insidethegames that "we believe strongly that we have fulfilled and are fulfilling the requirements to be included".

The IBSF had also claimed it was "very positive" over the prospects of the sport being included at Milan Cortina 2026.