Virtus is teaming up with World Sailing to create an eSailing challenge ©Virtus

World Sailing and Virtus are jointly organising an eSailing challenge on March 6.

The challenge will be hosted for sportspeople with intellectual impairments on the digital sailing platform Virtual Regatta and will be open to all athletes holding a Virtus national eligibility.

Racing will take place throughout the day to cater for different timezones.

Those joining the challenge are asked to complete the in-game Sailing School for an introduction to the basic rules of sailing and tips about how to be a successful eSailor.

Registration for the event will be managed by Virtus - which is inclusive of athletes with an intellectual impairment, Down’s syndrome or autism - and supported by World Sailing.

Virtus was formerly known as the International Sports Federation for Persons with Intellectual Disability (INAS).

Competition will take place on the Virtual Regatta platform ©Getty Images
Competition will take place on the Virtual Regatta platform ©Getty Images

Massimo Dighe, Para World Sailing manager at World Sailing, commented: "I’m very happy to start the first eSailing challenge in collaboration with Virtus.

"Since 2019 we have worked with Virtus to create opportunities for participation in sport and increase the awareness of sailing within the intellectual impairment group.

"At a time when it is very hard to organise in-person events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s great that we can use Virtual Regatta as a platform to include Virtus athletes.

"This is the first step in a long-term plan which will culminate in a future Para World Championship for people with intellectual impairments."

Virtus President Marc Truffaut added: "This eSailing challenge will be a fantastic way to engage our sailing community during this pandemic, whilst building on our relationship with World Sailing to promote and increase participation in sailing among athletes with an intellectual impairment."

World Sailing signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Virtus in May 2019 with the aim of working jointly to promote growth of the sport amongst people with an intellectual impairment around the world.

The first Para Sailing World Championships for athletes with an intellectual impairment are expected to take place in Australia next year.