US sonar team secured place on Rio 2016 sailing team

Rick Doerr, Brad Kendell and Hugh Freund make up the US three-person sonar class team that will compete at September’s Paralympic Games. 07 May 2016
Rick Doerr

Rick Doerr

ⒸGetty Images
By US Sailing

“It is going to be a great feeling to be the team representing the US, with our country behind us and our flag above us.”

USA’s Rick Doerr, Brad Kendell and Hugh Freund have earned selection to the Rio 2016 US Paralympic Sailing Team based on the results of the US Sailing Paralympic Athlete Selection Series in the Sonar three-person keelboat.

“It has been a long journey since 2008, and this seems to be a culmination of our efforts, though we have a lot of work left to do,” said Doerr. “It is really exciting that we finally put everything together and sailed a really good year [of regattas] to make this happen.”

Doerr, a 2007 Disabled Sailing world champion in the Sonar, is the longest-tenured member of the US Sailing Team, with over 16 years on the roster.

Doerr, Kendell and Freund have been sailing as a team for the past seven years, and finished second by a narrow margin in the London 2012 Paralympic Selection Series. Since that first campaign together, Doerr, Kendell and Freund have achieved a new level of consistency and speed under coach Mike Ingham, who has won over 20 national and continental championships in his career.

The team has won five medals at Sailing World Cup Miami in the past seven years. In 2015, the three Sonar athletes won the Sunbrella Golden Torch Award in Miami, given to the top-performing American boat at the event. Doerr, Kendell and Freund were the first Paralympic-class athletes to gain this distinction in the 26-year history of the event.

“Our confidence level right now is super high,” said Freund, who began his sailing career while still an undergraduate student.

“We are working better together as a team than we have at any point in the years we have been together. We are making sure we maximize our training opportunities on the water [both] at home and in Rio.”

“We have been working really hard, and the next month is going to be really busy,” said Kendell, who will compete with his teammates at the Para World Sailing Championships in the Netherlands from 24-28 May.

“We will be in and out of different countries, and our hometowns. We want to medal at each event we enter, and to be winning [consistently] going into the Paralympics.”

Challenging for a medal at the Rio 2016 regatta will represent the fulfillment of a long-held dream, said Freund.

“It is going to be a great feeling to be the team representing the US, with our country behind us and our flag above us.”


Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs)

The IPC’s Global ATR is Jet Set Sports, and Rio 2016 tickets and packages can be purchased on the CoSport website.

Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.