High performance sport for athletes with an intellectual impairment
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Our vision: “An inclusive world for people with an intellectual impairment”

Around two per cent of the global population have an intellectual impairment – one of the biggest groups in society.

We are inspired by the belief that an intellectual impairment, autism or Down syndrome should not be a barrier to competing at the highest levels.

High performance sport for athletes with an intellectual impairment

Virtus helps more than 500,000 of the world’s best athletes compete in a variety of winter and summer sports. These include tennis, basketball, cycling, cricket, and alpine skiing.

Virtus organises competitions such as world and regional Championships. We also manage eligibility and classification, working with other International Federations. Three of the sports on our programme – swimming, athletics and table tennis – feature at the Paralympic Games.

We partner with other organisations to develop sports such as taekwondo. We also develop new sports such as equestrian, with an aim to grow the number of athletes and competitions.


We promote inclusion of people with intellectual impairments in society and are a member of the International Paralympic Committee. Part of our work involves educating our members on eligibility and classification so that they can develop their athlete pool.

Virtus was formed (as INAS) in 1986 and has grown to a membership of more than 80 nations across the world. These cover Europe, Africa, Asia, South America, North America and Oceania. For more information visit the history of World Intellectual Impairment Sport page.

Every four years we host the Virtus Global Games – the world’s largest elite sports event for athletes with an intellectual impairment. For more information visit the Global Games page.

We are a registered as a charity, based in Great Britain. We are supported by a huge volunteer workforce around the world.

Our activities in promoting high performance sport for athletes with an intellectual impairment are only possible with the help of fundraising and contributions from our member nations. We do not qualify for state or lottery support.

Support us today!