Ukraine Leads The Final Medal Count at Reims 2024

The culminating day of the 2024 Virtus World and European Indoor Athletics in Reims, France, witnessed pivotal moments that reshaped the standings.

Liudmyla Danylina of Ukraine showcased unparalleled prowess, clinching gold in both the 800m and 3,000m events, solidifying her dominance in indoor track athletics.

In the Women’s 200m, Yuliia Shuliar of Ukraine sprinted to victory with a blistering time of 25.03 seconds, securing gold. Aysel Önder and Reyhan Tasdelen from Turkey claimed silver and bronze, respectively. Meanwhile, in the Men’s 200m, De Rodriguez Ramirez of Spain claimed gold with an impressive time of 22.37 seconds, closely followed by Igor Oliveira from Portugal and Joel Reinoldsson from Sweden.

In the II1 800m events, Liudmyla Danylina continued her dominance, securing gold in the Women’s category, while Sandro Baessa of Portugal emerged victorious in the Men’s event. Reyhan Tasdelen and Virginie Dreux from Turkey and France respectively secured silver and bronze in womens, while Gael Geffroy and Arthur Bellitto from France claimed silver and bronze in the Men’s 800m.

Danylina continued her winning streak in the 3,000m, claiming gold for Ukraine, with Cristi Pinto Pereira of Portugal securing gold in the Men’s event. Iryna Kandyba of Ukraine and Pavlo Voluikevych secured silver in their respective events, while Anna Bodziony and Adria Parras Alvarez clinched bronze.

Ukrainian athletes dominating podium. Photo Credit: Geoffrey Wahlen/FFSA

In the High Jump events, Ruslana Muravska of Ukraine and Kyrylo Bezverkhov secured gold for their country, with Ana Filipe and Lenine Cunha from Portugal claiming silver. Fatma Damla Altin of Turkey, Alexander Lilliesköld of Sweden, and Mykhailo Bilenko of Ukraine secured bronze in their respective events.

Ukraine’s dominance extended to the Women’s 4x400m Relay, securing gold, while the men’s team from Portugal emerged victorious.

In the team events, Portugal topped the men’s standings, followed by Ukraine and Turkey. Ukraine led the women’s standings, with Turkey and France following suit.

With an impressive haul of 13 gold, 7 silver, and 4 bronze medals, Ukraine secured the top spot on the final medal tally, showcasing their dominance in the competition. Portugal secured second place with 9 gold, 7 silver, and 16 bronze medals, while Spain claimed third place with 7 gold, 2 silver, and 5 bronze medals.

Full results can be accessed from Virtus website.

Record-breaking Performances and Medal Triumphs continues at Day-2 of Reims 2024

The second day of the 2024 Virtus World and European Indoor Athletics Championship in Reims, France commenced with an electrifying start, setting the stage for a day of remarkable performances.

Aysel Önder of Turkey left an indelible mark on the competition by breaking the Women’s II1 400m event record with an astonishing time of 57.454 seconds, captivating the crowd and securing her place in Virtus World history as a true champion.

In the Men’s II1 Shot Put, Maksym Koval of Ukraine astounded spectators with a monumental throw, achieving a remarkable distance of 17.40 meters and setting a new standard for the event.

Virtus WR breakers: Aysel Önder and Maksym Koval

Athletes from Bulgaria, France, Turkey, and Ukraine excelled, claiming multiple medals and showcasing their exceptional talent and determination on the global stage.

Aleksandar Asenov of Bulgaria demonstrated his dominance by clinching gold in both the Men’s Shot Put (7Kg) and Men’s Shot Put (4Kg) events.

Nicolas Virapin from France soared to victory in the Men’s Long Jump, adding a silver medal in the Men’s Shot Put (4Kg) event to his impressive haul.

Lucas Tandrayen, also representing France, showcased his skill with a silver in the Men’s Shot Put (4Kg) and a bronze in the same event, highlighting his versatility.

Turkey’s Reyhan Tasdelen impressed with a bronze in the Women’s Long Jump and another bronze in the Women’s 200m race, displaying her versatility as an athlete.

Ukraine’s Olha Zazuliak demonstrated her athleticism by competing in both the Women’s Long Jump and Women’s 200m events, showcasing her dedication to excellence.

Portugal maintained its lead in the medal tally with a total of 12 medals, including 5 gold, 5 silver, and 2 bronze. Ukraine followed closely with 10 medals, while Turkey secured 9 medals in total.

For full results, visit the Virtus website for comprehensive information on the championship.

Watch the highlights from day-2 of reims 2024 below. Feel free to share, follow and subscribe to our channel!

Portuguese Athletes Dominate Podium on Opening Day of Reims 2024

The 2024 Virtus World and European Indoor Athletics Championship kicked off today in the picturesque city of Reims, France, with an electrifying display of athleticism.

On the opening day, athletes representing Portugal dominated the competition, securing three out of the ten titles up for grabs.

Paralympic Bronze medallist and Virtus ambassador, Lenine Cunha, soared to victory in the Men’s II1 Triple jump, outperforming contenders Matheo Jean Gilbert and Johan Roigt of France.

Athletes in action at Reims 2024. Photo Credit: Geoffrey Wahlen/FFSA

In the II1 Men’s 60m event, Igor Oliveira blazed to the gold medal, leaving competitors Joel Reinoldsson of Sweden and Haroun Khalifa of France in his wake.

Meanwhile, in the Women’s II1 category, Ana Filipe clinched the gold medal by outshining Esra Bayrak of Turkey and Olha Zazuliak of Ukraine, who settled for silver and bronze respectively.

Ukrainian athletes, Yuliia Shuliar and Mikhail Bilenko, showcased their prowess by claiming gold in the Women’s II1 60m and Pentathlon events.

French contender Nicolas Virapin demonstrated his dominance with a double victory, securing gold in both the II2 Long Jump and Triathlon events.

Not to be outdone, Bulgarian athlete Aleksandar Asenov (II2) asserted his dominance with two title wins today in the Shot put and 60m events.

Fatma Damla Altin (TUR) clinched Turkey’s first gold medal in the Pentathlon event.

Full results can be accessed from the Virtus website.

2024 Virtus World and European Indoor Athletics Declared Open

The 2024 Virtus World and European Indoor Athletics commenced today in Reims, France, amidst a vibrant display of local programs and an exuberant athlete’s parade. The event concludes on 24th February.

Nations such as Belgium, France, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Ukraine, Sweden, Spain, and Turkey are set to compete fiercely for top honours in this esteemed competition.

Reims, the “city of coronations,” is the 12th largest city in France, with 182,000 residents. It’s in the Grand Est region, serving as a sub-prefecture of the Marne department. Notable for its UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Notre-Dame Cathedral, Reims offers rich historical exploration. Nature enthusiasts can enjoy walks in Montagne de Reims Regional Nature Park, famous for Champagne vineyards. Festivals like music events, the Christmas market (3rd largest in France), and Johannine celebrations provide cultural vibrancy year-round.

In sports, Reims excels nationally in basketball, hockey, water polo, and football, notably led by Stade de Reims, six-time French champions. The annual Run in Reims race attracts over 15,000 participants. Additionally, Reims will play a part in the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, hosting the Olympic flame and select delegations

Marc Truffaut, President of Fédération Française du Sport Adapté, extended a heartfelt greeting to all participants and technical committees. He remarked,

We are thrilled to welcome you all to Reims, especially in this exciting Paralympic Year with the upcoming games in Paris, France. Your performances here in the next few days could be the stepping stone to your success in September.”

Echoing Truffaut’s sentiments, Jose Pereira, the Virtus Sport Director for Athletics, added,

Today marks the beginning of an incredible journey for all of us. With the spirit of sportsmanship and determination, let us embrace the challenges ahead and showcase the true essence of athletics.”

With anticipation building, Pereira officially declared the event open, setting the stage for days filled with thrilling displays of athleticism and camaraderie. As the world’s gaze turns to Reims, spectators and participants alike eagerly await the inspiring moments that will unfold on the track and field.

Call for new memberships

At the 2023 Virtus General Assembly, the membership of several organisations was ceased following several years where membership obligations were not met.

In accordance with the Membership policy, Virtus is inviting new organisations to come forward to take the membership in the following nations:

  • Brunei
  • Central Africa Republic
  • Chad
  • Honduras
  • San Marino
  • South Africa

Membership applications can be submitted using the form available on the Virtus website, however we encourage all interested parties to contact us at membership@virtus.sport for an informal discussion prior to submitting an application.

Over the last 10 years, membership of Virtus has continued to set records and now stands at an all time high of 84 nations and 11 other organisations including International Federations. Marc Truffaut, Virtus President said, “Each year the Virtus family grows and we reach more athletes in more nations. We look forward to hearing from organisations in the above countries – or indeed from elsewhere across the world where Virtus is currently not represented – in order that we can continue to support more people with an intellectual impairment globally”.

Visit here details of Virtus membership and current member organisation.

Virtus’ Call to End Exclusion in Winter Paralympic Sports: Bids for 2030 Winter Paralympics Expansion

Calls for Skiing Community to Join Efforts to End Long-Standing Exclusion; Forms International Federation for Skiers with Intellectual Impairments

Virtus, the International Sports Federation for athletes with intellectual impairment, has officially submitted a bid to the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) for the inclusion of Nordic and Alpine skiing in the 2030 Winter Paralympic Games.

This bid represents a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to provide equal opportunities for athletes with intellectual impairment on the global stage,” remarked Virtus President Marc Truffaut. 

The project to secure inclusion in the Winter Paralympics began even before the 2012 Summer Paralympic Games and Virtus has been working closely with the International Paralympic Committee and, more recently, the Federation of International Skiing (FIS) which is the new International Federation of the sport selected by the IPC.

In 2013, IPC affirmed its commitment to the inclusion of skiers with an intellectual impairment and in 2017 the IPC membership mandated greater inclusion across both summer and Winter Games, however to date, this has not been achieved.

Whilst Virtus had hoped the bid for inclusion in the Winter Games would come from FIS, it became apparent that the only way to secure equality would be to submit a bid directly from Virtus.  Despite challenges, including initial discouragement from a direct submission, Virtus remains steadfast in its pursuit of inclusion. In submitting the bid Virtus also has now formed an International Federation to promote and support the rights of skiers with intellectual impairments.

Our priority is to ensure that athletes with intellectual impairment have the opportunity to compete in Nordic and Alpine skiing at the highest level,” Truffaut emphasised. 

It has been 15 years since athletes with intellectual impairment have been reincluded in the Summer Paralympic Games yet there remains barriers to their inclusion into the Winter Paralympic Games. It’s now time, for Virtus athletes to take their rightful place alongside other elite athletes with physical and visual impairments in the Winter Paralympic Games. We cannot wait another decade for this to happen.

We call upon IPC and FIS to support our bid and recognize the importance of expanding Paralympic opportunities for athletes with intellectual impairment. We call on FIS to be the IF for all skiers. We call on all people who value inclusion and fairness, especially those in the skiing community, to join Virtus and lend their voice to bringing skiers with intellectual impairment into the Winter Paralympic Games of 2030.

Paris 2024 Unravels the Olymipic and Paralympic Medals Designs

In a historic move, Paris 2024 introduces medals adorned with a highly symbolic and priceless piece of metal: the original iron from the Eiffel Tower, marking a symbolic convergence of heritage and sporting excellence.

For the first time in Olympic and Paralympic history, each medal is embedded with original iron from the Eiffel Tower, a testament to its enduring legacy since the 1889 Universal Exhibition. Constructed to astonish the world during the 1889 Universal Exhibition, the Eiffel Tower is crafted entirely from a unique form of iron known as “puddle” iron. Produced in the forges and blast furnaces of Pompey in Lorraine, this cast iron undergoes a refining process called “puddling,” which eliminates excess carbon, resulting in incredibly pure and robust iron. Throughout the 20th century, the Eiffel Tower underwent renovations, during which certain metallic elements were removed and carefully preserved. Now, for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024, the Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel is granting these authentic relics of Paris and France’s history a new lease of life.

By integrating this historic metal into the medal’s design, Paris 2024 pays homage to Gustave Eiffel’s visionary spirit, reinforcing the Games’ connection to French heritage. By placing fragments of the Eiffel Tower at the centre of its medals, Paris 2024 hopes to leave athletes with an unforgettable memory of the Games, of Paris and of France.

The Eiffel Tower, the daughter of Paris and site of major world events had to be used to provide athletes with an unforgettable souvenir of Paris. With this unique metal from the Eiffel Tower, this medal has a historic character and is a nod to Pierre de Coubertin who, as a contemporary of Gustave Eiffel, was one of the last people to be able to visit the construction site of the Tower before it was opened,” said Jean-François Martins, President of the Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel.

In its commitment to strengthening the ties between sports, culture, and heritage, Paris 2024 has enlisted the expertise of renowned French jeweller Chaumet. As the first jeweller in the history of the Games to undertake this esteemed task, Chaumet, a company within the LVMH group and Premium Partner of Paris 2024, brings centuries of craftsmanship and elegance to the creation of the Olympic and Paralympic medals.

As creative partner of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024, we wanted to involve several of our Houses in this collaboration so that they could put the excellence of their craftsmanship at the service of this exceptional global event. It’s the first time in the history of the Olympic and Paralympic Games that a jeweller has designed the medals. The Maison Chaumet creative team has conceived each medal as a jewel, taking inspiration from the Parisian craftsmanship of its legendary Place Vendôme workshops and illustrating the vocation shared by all the Houses in our group: the ability to make people dream. LVMH is so proud to be part of this wonderful adventure! We hope that each athlete will enjoy wearing and admiring the medal as much as we enjoyed creating it for them,” said Antoine Arnault, LVMH Image & Environment.

With a global reputation for excellence and a deep-rooted embodiment of French artistry, Chaumet is elevating the medal design by drawing inspiration from three key themes: the hexagon, radiance, and the setting.

THE HEXAGON: Crafted from the original iron of the Eiffel Tower, the medal takes the form of a hexagon, a geometric shape closely associated with France, earning it the moniker “The Hexagone.” This emblematic shape symbolizes the unified effort of an entire nation in hosting the historic Olympic and Paralympic Games. Stripped of its “Eiffel Tower brown” paint, the puddled iron has been restored to its natural colour, blending elegantly with the gold, silver, and bronze tones of the medals. Adorned with the emblem of the Olympic Games Paris 2024, this piece of heritage sits proudly at the centre, lending the medals a distinctive two-tone appearance.

RADIANCE: Adding a touch of radiance to the medals, sunbeam-like lines extend from the iron hexagon at regular intervals. These rays, struck rather than engraved, create a stunning 3D effect, symbolizing the brilliance of France during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as the shining performances of the athletes that captivate the world.

THE SETTING: Combining the iconic Eiffel Tower with the Games medal, and merging iron with gold, silver, or bronze, demanded symbolic craftsmanship. As a homage to French jewellery-making, and with the creative collaboration of LVMH and Chaumet, the medal not only features the iron piece but is intricately encrusted with it. Employing a “claw setting,” a technique synonymous with the House of Chaumet’s high jewellery creations, six metal appendages are stamped onto the medal’s surface, securing the iron piece against the medal. For the Paris 2024 Games, claw settings inspired by the iconic “Clous de Paris” were chosen, reminiscent of the Eiffel Tower’s famous rivets. The slightly concave shape of the medal enhances the depth of the design on both sides, adding to its allure.

Since the bid phase, Paris 2024 has been channelling equal ambition into organizing both the Paralympic and Olympic Games. The design of the two Opening Ceremonies embodies a shared philosophy of inclusivity, extending not only within the city but also to the public. Additionally, for the 2024 Games, both the Olympic and Paralympic competitions will take place in the same venues, showcasing Paris’s most iconic monuments transformed into arenas of athletic prowess. This concerted effort to unite the Olympic and Paralympic Games is also evident in their symbols.

Olympic and Paralympic medals design © Paris 2024

While each event boasts its unique history, both the Olympic and Paralympic medals carry distinct narratives. The Olympic medal pays homage to the Games’ revival in Greece, featuring the goddess of victory, Nike, emerging from the Panathenaic Stadium, where the modern Olympics were inaugurated in 1896. The front of the Olympic medals also showcases the Acropolis. However, for Paris 2024, the Eiffel Tower is prominently displayed alongside it, symbolizing the Games’ connection to both ancient Greece and modern France. This dual representation encapsulates the essence of the Olympic movement and Paris’s upcoming edition of the Games

For its part, the front of the Paralympic medal fully illustrates the creative choices made by Paris 2024 and Chaumet. A graphic representation of a low-angle view under the Eiffel Tower will enable the medallists to discover the Dame de Fer from a hitherto little-represented angle. The words “Paris” and “2024” frame the pillars of the Tower and are written in universal Braille, a script symbolising accessibility and a reference to its French inventor, Louis Braille. To enable the three metals to be distinguished by touch, lines are engraved on the edge of the medal won: I for gold, II for silver and III for bronze.

AO2024 Glory: Archie Graham and Anna McBride Retain Australian Open Titles at AO2024

From January 26th to 28th, the Melbourne Park Courts became the stage for the exceptional skills of the world’s top players during the Australian Open PWII Tennis Championships. This edition marked the second season of an inclusive AO, embracing para-athletes, including those with intellectual impairments.

Sixteen elite athletes, comprising eight males and eight females, marked the highest participation by PWII to date. Australia’s representatives included Breanna Tunny, Kelly Wren, Andriana Petrakis, Damian Phillips, Carla Lenarduzzi, Mitchell James, Joshua Holloway, and Archie Graham.

Great Britain was well-represented by Oliver Beadle, Fabrice Higgins, Anna McBride, Aidan Moody, and Lily Mills. India’s Judaea Lakshmi made a historic debut at AO, while Hanne Lavreysen from Belgium and Sophia Schmidt from Germany added to the international flair.

Anna McBride and Archie Graham with their AO PWII singles trophies. Photo Credit: Sport Inclusion Australia

In Men’s Singles, Archie Graham reaffirmed his world no.1 status, delivering a commanding performance at the Australian Open 2024 PWII Championships. He triumphed over GB’s Oliver Beadle with a score of 6-3, 6-2.
Graham expressing his excitement, told AO,

It is definitely a great experience playing here at Melbourne Park and winning at this level. I still get goosebumps every time I come back here… It definitely makes you feel privileged and honoured being around the best in the world,” acknowledging his admiration for Rafael Nadal.

The Women’s Singles finals witnessed Virtus gold medalist and defending champion Anna McBride (GBR) overpowering Kelly Wren (AUS) with a score of 6-2, 6-0, securing her second consecutive title.

Australia experienced mixed fortunes in the Doubles matches. Breanna Tunny and Kelly Wren yielded the Women’s Doubles crown to Anna McBride (GBR) and Sophia Schmidt (GER) with a score of 5-7, 3-6. However, Archie Graham and Joshua Holloway claimed victory by defeating Fabrice Higgins (GBR) and Judaea Lakshmi (IND) with a score of 6-4, 6-3.
Full results can be accessed from the AO website.

Lawrence Robertson, Tennis Australia’s Director of Pathways and Tennis Services, extended congratulations to all competitors for their stellar performances throughout the three-day event. During the trophy presentation, Robertson expressed,

Tennis Australia is incredibly proud of the opportunities we provide our athletes and the pathways that we offer.”

Virtus applauds Tennis Australia and its Virtus member, Sport Inclusion Australia, for their commendable efforts in uniting top athletes on the same court where champions like Novak Djokovic, Iga Swiatek, Naomi Osaka, and Angelique Kerber have showcased their talents. This commitment to inclusivity echoes the spirit of the sport, bringing diverse athletes together on a prestigious stage.

Earlier in September 2023, as part of a collaboration between the USTA and Athletes Without Limits, notable US tennis stars—Kevin Meade, Rachel Sweatt, Brittany Tagliareni, and Ryan Smith—captivated audiences in a Mixed Doubles Exhibition for players with Intellectual Impairments at the 2023 US Open.

The Australian Open PWII Tennis Championships and the US Open play pivotal roles as platforms for promoting inclusivity in sports, especially for athletes with intellectual impairments. These tournaments go beyond being mere competitions; they provide a spotlight to showcase talents, break down barriers, and cultivate unity. By contributing to a supportive sporting community, these inclusive initiatives acknowledge and celebrate the strength and resilience of each participant. Virtus encourages and hopes for more collaborative efforts that champion inclusivity in the world of sports.

Louis Fuhrmann wins his third series title at Ballarat 2024

Exciting wrap-up for the Ballarat 2024 Virtus Cycling World Series (Northern Hemisphere) today, showcasing stellar performances by the French team once again.

Louis Fuhrmann of France completed a triumphant sweep of all three events at the Virtus Cycling World Series in Ballarat, Australia, securing victory in the 40km road race today.

Fuhrmann seized the lead during the hill climb on lap 3 of the 4-lap race. Responding to Fuhrmann’s break, Australia’s Cameron Marshall also broke away from the pack in pursuit of Fuhrmann.

Maintaining his lead throughout the race, Fuhrmann crossed the finish line at 1 hr 14:02, with Marshall securing second place at 1 hr 15:01 and Leo Collet (FRA) clinching third at 1 hr 15:42. Collet exhibited strong riding in the final 200m, outpacing Korea’s Jongwoong Won (1 hr 15:44). Marshall proudly claimed his second National Champion Jersey.

Vincent and Louis posing with their gold medals. Photo Credit: Michael Thompson/SIA

In the men’s II-2 category, Vincent Pomorski reversed roles with compatriot Ange Richiero, winning in 1 hr 25:25, while Richiero secured second place in 1 hr 28:00.

The Women’s National Championship race over 30km witnessed a formidable performance from Montana Whiteley, who rode solo for 30km, securing victory in 1 hr 10:52. This marked her second National title of the Championships, following her earlier triumph in the Time Trial earlier in the week.

Full results can be accessed from the AusCycling website.

French Riders Dominated Inaugural Virtus Cycling Series In Ballarat

On January 4th, Ballarat, Australia witnessed the exhilarating launch of the first-ever Virtus World Cycling Series. This groundbreaking initiative, aimed at expanding opportunities and enhancing flexibility for cyclists with intellectual impairments globally, is set to make waves in both the Southern and Northern Hemispheres.

In the Northern Hemisphere edition, French riders dominated the stage, showcasing remarkable performances in both male and female categories.

Ange Richiero and Vincent Pomorski are on the left and Dastan Ordabay is on the right. Photo Credit: AusCycling Road & Esports

In the highly competitive II1 Men’s Time Trial, France’s Louis Fuhrmann emerged as the fastest, clocking an exceptional time of 27:19.21 seconds. Fuhrmann secured victory over the home champion, Cameron Marshall, a notable feat considering Marshall’s current status as the National Champion in the Individual Time Trial and Road Race. Leo Collet (FRA) claimed the bronze with a commendable timing of 29:53.03 seconds.

Within the II2 category, Ange Richiero and Vincent Pomorski, representing France, showcased their prowess and claimed the top positions.

(L-R) Leo Collett, Louis Fuhrmann and Kealy Kitkevics flaunting their medals. Photo Credit: Michael Thompson/SIA

The intensity continued in the II1 Men’s Criterium 5.5km Race, with French cyclists once again dominating the podium. Louis Fuhrmann secured his second series title, Leo Collett transitioned his bronze from the previous day to silver, and Kealy Kitkevics (AUS) settled for the bronze.

In the II2 Men’s Criterium 5.5km Race, French riders Ange Richiero and Vincent Pomorski replicated their success from the previous day, clinching gold and silver once again.

Adding to the international flavour, Kazakhstan’s Dastan Ordabay showcased exceptional prowess, claiming gold in both the II-3 Individual Trial and the II-3 Criterium 5.5km Race with a commendable timing of 37:28.

This resounding success marks the beginning of a revolutionary series that promises to reshape the landscape of cycling for athletes with intellectual impairments.

Full results can be accessed from the AusCycling website.