Swimming official training workshop completed in France

The Virtus Swimming Committee recently ran training courses for swimming officials in France between 11th and 15th May, in conjunction with the Championnat de Natacion de Sport Adapte near Vichy, France.

During this period several French national officials undertook the Virtus Level 2 training, aimed at providing an improved awareness of officiating at a Virtus event, and developing officials as judges for Virtus for the future, especially the 2023 Global Games.

Following a pilot training session in France last December, a small number of Referee candidates were selected for the “international” judges training module, the Virtus Level 3 to run at the same time as the French championships.

This included a full day of “classroom” instruction covering details on the role and responsibilities of referee and control room supervisor, followed by 2 days of practical mentoring as referee and judge of stroke and then 2 days of observation and assessment by the Virtus Sport Director for Swimming.

After the training, four candidates were successful in achieving the necessary level – Bernard Berge, Agnes Brunet, Maryvonne Brault and Michel Picard.

Virtus Swimming Director- Dave Harman sais, “I would like to congratulate all the four technical officials who passed the international judges training. With the Virtus Global Games coming to France next year, these officials will play a significant role at the games and lead the poolside team. Some of the officials may be selected to assist at other major events in the future which will be of great help for the LOC’s.”

The Virtus Swimming Committee have developed a range of training modules for officials and for LOCs and volunteers and will be conducting more workshops in the future to include more officials to the experienced team of officials and to help LOCs in planning and managing events.


French players settle debts from Tokyo Paralympics at ITTF SQF French Para Open 2022

The ITTF SQF French Para Open took place from 5th to 8th May in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France. Several Tokyo Paralympic medalists including Florian Van Acker, Sam Von Einem, Maki Ito, Lea Ferney along with many others made their way to the tournament. Some interesting matches were witnessed by the crowd in the Class 11 category.


 In Women’s section, Sayuri Mio (JPN) beat Mako Ito (JPN)  3-1 (8-11, 11-7,12-10, 15-13) in the semi-finals to enter the finals. Meanwhile, on another table, French paddler Lea Ferney repeated Tokyo semi-final history by thrashing Japan’s Kanami Furukawa by 3-2 (11-9, 6-11, 11-9, 1-11, 10-12) and confirmed her place in the finals. Both the finalist gave a tough competition to each other before Sayuri Mio succumbed to Lea Ferney’s smashes. Lea claimed the championship title in Women’s singles by 3-2 points.

In the Men’s section, Florian Van Acker from Belgium secured his place in the finals with an easy win over South Korea’s Tae Kim Gi with a score of 3-2. Meanwhile, a nerve wrecking match was staged by the Lucas Creange (FRA) and Sam Einem (AUS). Paralympic bronze medalist – Lucas and Silver medalist Sam Von, both draw swords on the table to secure their place in the finals. While the host player Lucas dominated the first two sets with 11-6, 11-8, Sam made fantastic comeback in the third and fourth set with 8-11, 10-12. However, it was a sad day for the two times Paralympic Silver medalist Sam Von Einem as he lost the last match by 5-11 to Lucas and couldn’t make it to the finals, and settled for Bronze.

Like the female counterpart, Lucas had a glorious victory in front of his home crowd and won the Gold with a smooth win over Belgium’s Florian Van by 3-0.


Two teams each from Japan and French entered the semifinals and showcased exciting matches. French players, Lea Ferney and Lucas Creange teamed up together for the mixed doubles and stayed undefeated. The power duos won both the quarterfinal and semifinal in the first three sets entering the finals. They continued their winning strokes in the finals and brought the Mixed Doubles title home too with a score of 3-1, placing Japan’s Koya Kato and Ito Maki in second.

With a little more than a year to go for the 2023 Virtus Global Games in Vichy, host nation’s players seems to be all set for the pinnacle event next year.

For full results on ITTF SQF French Para Open 2022, click here.

Virtus awarded with Social Inclusion Award 2021 by EJU

Kerry Tansey receiving the award from Michal Vachun Jane Bridge- Vice President of EJU

The European Judo Union announced the 2021 Social Inclusion awards today in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Virtus and its Judo director – Kerry Tansey – were each awarded with the “Social Inclusion Award 2021” by the European Judo Union for ground breaking work in promoting adaptive and inclusive judo throughout Europe.

“I am so pleased to receive these awards on behalf of all the coaches in Europe and the World for the dedication and hard work to provide opportunities and pathways for our athletes with disabilities” says Kerry.

Kerry has enormous experience in the sport and has been leading the Virtus Judo committee since December 2019, driving forward her passion to grow judo for people with an intellectual impairment.

Kerry Tansey with Rowena Birch- President British Judo

Virtus President- Marc Truffaut said “ I would like to congratulate Kerry and all our judo group for winning these prestigious awards. We are very lucky and proud to have such passionate people and a dedicated leader as our Judo sport director. Kerry has always been very keen to create opportunities and pathways for judo players. Everyone in Virtus are very proud of her achievement.”

European Judo Union announced the creation of the ‘Adapted Judo Commission’ last year in June. The commission was formed to promote social inclusion in the community through the practice of judo.


Para Sailing World Championship ready to receive sailors from all countries

Our partners at World Sailing have published the Para Sailing World Championship Notice of Race and entries are now invited from eligible sailors in any country.

The Para Sailing World Championship will be held at the Southport Yacht Club on the Gold Coast, Australia, from 5 – 11 November 2022, as part of the Virtus Oceania Asia Games 2022.

The release of the Notice of Race signals the formal invitation to sailors and demonstrates the drive towards creating opportunities for participation and competition, increasing awareness of sailing amongst athletes with intellectual impairments, and offering a supportive environment.

The World Sailing and Virtus partnership was formed with the aim of working jointly to promote the global growth of sailing amongst athletes with intellectual impairment. Together with the delivery partners – Sport Inclusion Australia and Southport Yacht Club will bring the event to life in November 2022.

For athletes who want to compete in a Sailing World Championship, this is the opportunity to set sail to Brisbane Australia. A series of informational webinars will be held to inform clubs, coaches and sailors from 10th May 2022 on the entry and eligibility requirements.

The following organisations should be acknowledged for their collaboration to bring this major international event to the shores of the Gold Coast.

  • World Sailing – the International Federation for Sailing
  • Southport Yacht Club – the Organising Authority and host venue
  • Sport Inclusion Australia – the organisation delivering the Virtus Oceania Asia Games 2022
  • Virtus – the International Federation for Athletes with Intellectual Impairments

Information on the webinars and to download the Notice of Race will be available on:

Organising Authority Southport Yacht Club website

OA Games 2022 website

To register for an information webinar contact info@oagames2022.org

Antonio Silva crosses the finish line in first place at the 2018 World Intellectual Impairment Sport Athletics Half Marathon Championships

Two more athletics events confirmed for 2022 programme

As the return to competition gathers pace, we are pleased to confirm two additions to the calendar for 2022.

2022 Virtus World Half Marathon Championship

In September, Viseu – Portugal will host the 2022 World Half Marathon Championships. The event takes place alongside a major local competition ensuring a large and competitive field. The event takes place on 11th September and preliminary details are available on calendar.

Virtus President, Marc Truffaut says, “We would like to congratulate members of ANDDI Portugal for winning the bid to host the this event for the fifth time, which itself is a testimony to their hard work, dedication and excellence towards the competition. They have hosted spectacular Virtus events in the past and we expect nothing less this time too.”

This will be the second consecutive World Half-Marathon hosted by Virtus Portugal-Associação Nacional de Desporto para Desenvolvimento Intelectual- (ANDDI Portugal). In addition, five out of nine Virtus World Half-Marathon have been hosted by Portugal successfully.

2022 Virtus World Cross Country Championship

In November, San Diego – USA will host the 2022 World Cross Country Championships (an event delayed from 2021). The world renowned course hosts the US National Cross Country Championships providing a fantastic opportunity for Virtus athletes together with an event for non-Virtus athletes. Preliminary details and the ‘intent to enter’ registration are available now from the Virtus calendar.

President of AWL, Mr. Barry Holman said, “We are very excited for the event. The emerging and high performing athletes with intellectual impairments (II) have historically been an underserved, underrepresented and marginalized athlete population in the United States and this event aims to generate awareness and exposure to high performing II athletes and serve to engage the San Diego area community.”

The competition will the first Virtus event to be hosted in California. With six years to go for the LA 2028 Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games, the 2022 Virtus World Cross Country Championship will play a major role in creating awareness towards elite sporting events for athletes with intellectual impairments in California and USA.

With the last two years heavily impacted by the global pandemic, we urge all member organisations to get behind these fantastic events and look forward to seeing Virtus athletes once again taking the podium in international competition.

Virtus launches search for 2027 Global Games and 2026 Regional Games hosts

The bid process to identify the host of the 7th Virtus Global Games, to be held in 2027, have been declared open. Simultaneously, the search to find the hosts of the 2026 Regional Games in Americas and Asia/Oceania also began.

With a little more than a year to go to the 2023 Virtus Global Games in Vichy – France, the Games Committee opened the bid process with the aim to announce the winning bid during the closing ceremony in France.

Virtus General Secretary and Games Committee Chairperson, Mr. Barry Holman said, “We are excited to receive bids for the 2027 Virtus Global Games. The Global Games showcase the courage, character, excellence and integrity of the more than 1000 athletes from over 50 countries we expect to gather for competition in 2027. We welcome all bids and stand ready to assist bidders in the process.”

The Virtus Global Games are the pinnacle event for the elite athletes with an intellectual impairment and is conducted every four years, in the preceding year the Paralympics. The 2027 Global Games will be the seventh edition of the games, the first one being held in Bollnas, Sweden, in 2004.

The Virtus Regional Games are a new addition to the Virtus calendar in recent years, and create a pathway to the Global Games. Many athletes have made their major debut at the Global Games and have gone on to winning Paralympic medals.

The 2027 Virtus Global Games will provide an international platform for elite athletes with an intellectual impairment on the journey to LA2028.

Interested Virtus Member Organisations have until 30th June to submit their expression of interest, with full bids being due by 28th February 2023, whilst bids for Regional Games are due no later than 30th November 2022.

Details of the bid process and event specification can be found here.

SIVUS India and Virtus Asia to organise webinar on athlete eligibility


SIVUS INDIA with VIRTUS ASIA is organising a webinar on eligibility for athletes with an intellectual impairment.

The aim and objective of the webinar is to highlight, create awareness and educate about the importance and procedure of eligibility in Virtus and parasport and will feature presentations by Virtus Head of Eligibility, Prof. Jan Burns MBE.

Eligibility is a critical component of the classification process and the webinar will help and guide athletes, parents, special educators, coaches and professionals to understand the process.

It takes place over two days – 17th and 18th March from 2:30pm to 5:30pm IST (GMT +5:30)

Day 1: 17th March- Parents, Siblings, Volunteers kindly register for Day one.

Day 2: 18th March- Professionals (Psychologists, Special Educators, Coaches)


  1. Virtus Head of Eligibility- Prof. Jan Burns
  2. CEO of SIVUS India- Mr. Aaron Benjamin

Link for Registration – www.sivusindia.org/#webinar

*Note- If a parent is also a special educator/psychologist/coach, they can register for Day two as well.

The webinar is open to all for registration.

If you have any questions, kindly write to rightous@sivusindia.org before the 18th of March, 2022 and they will address the questions in the webinar.

Sport Inclusion Australia joins forces with the Brisbane City Council and the Australian government to deliver 2022 Virtus Oceania-Asia Games

Virtus Australian member- Sport Inclusion Australia (SIA) has signed a partnership with Brisbane City Council  to deliver the 2022 Virtus Oceania-Asia Games, which will build a legacy of inclusivity, diversity and accessibility in the world of sport and in the host city, Brisbane. In addition, SIA has also successfully secured funding from the Australian Government. Previously, the Brisbane City Council and the Australian government supported the 2019 Virtus Global Games in Brisbane- the world’s largest sporting event for elite athletes with intellectual impairment, and continues to demonstrate the same support and commitment to the delivery of 2022 Virtus OA Games.

I am confident that the partnership between Council and Sport Inclusion Australia will lead to positive outcomes for both organisations and more importantly, bring together our city and community in the spirit of sport for all.” – Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner.

Earlier in February, the Australian Minister of Sport- Richard Colbeck announced Government investment of almost $2 million, which will aid Sport Inclusion Australia to host upto 1000 international athletes and officials at the upcoming Virtus Oceania/Asia Regional Games in less than 8 months from now.

Senator Richard Colbeck said, OA Games 2022 will build on the success of GG2019 Brisbane Games and raise awareness of inclusive sport to a new level, with a clear focus on engagement and participation of our Pacific neighbours, as we head to the 2032 summer Paralympics in Brisbane.”  

Australia keeps attracting major sporting events because of our well-justified reputation as an excellent host of world class international sporting competitions. The OA Games 2022 is a great addition to the huge line-up of major competitions ahead of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games”. Minister Colbeck said.

At a time when sport for athletes with an intellectual impairment is losing funding in many nations due to the consequences of the global pandemic, this is an historical achievement for Virtus member Sport Inclusion Australia and testament to the fantastic example of how government,  NGOs,  and sport  can work together to create opportunity for people with an intellectual impairments and to showcase their talent. 

Virtus Vice-President and CEO of SIA- Robyn Smith expressed how the Games marks an important opportunity to showcase the abilities of those who live with an intellectual impairment. 

With an estimated 2 to 3 percent of the world’s population having an intellectual impairment, the OA Games highlights the immense ability of the athletes and the power of sport to change attitudes, challenge perceptions, and strengthen communities locally and globally” Ms Smith said.


The 2022 Virtus OA Games are all set to be staged in Brisbane from 5-11 November. Around 1000 participants from over 25 nations across the Asia and the Pacific region are expected to participate in the inaugural Regional Games.  OA Games is a multi-sport event including international sanctioning and classification for athletics, swimming, table tennis, leading to the Vichy 2023 Global Games and the summer Paralympic Paris 2024. In addition, it will also host the World Para Sailing Championship for the first time.

Find out more about OAGames Facebook page  and Sport Inclusion Australia here.

AAU to support Taekwondo players representing USA at the upcoming 2022 Virtus Americas Games

Virtus USA member organization- Athletes Without Limit (AWL) and Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) announced a partnership to support the qualified Taekwondo athletes representing team USA at the upcoming 2022 Virtus Americas Games. The games are scheduled to be held at Sao Paulo, Brazil from 18th to 23rd September where hundreds of best elites will be competing across six sports- Taekwondo, Athletics/Track, Basketball, Futsal, Table Tennis, and Swimming at the Americas Regional Games.

“AAU Taekwondo is excited about our partnership with Athletes Without Limits and Virtus! As the only organization committed to growth at the grassroots level, we are honored to be chosen to host the team trialsand offer new opportunities to these amazing athletes.” said Bobby Stone, AAU National Sports Chair for Taekwondo.

AAU will be sponsoring up to twelve Para Poomsae athletes in both male and female categories in each age group (Under 30 and Over 30) across all three categories, i.e., II1 – Intellectual Impairment; II2 – Down Syndrome; II3 – Autism.

The selection will be done during the AAU National Championship in Las Vegas, from 3rd to 9th July. In addition, AAU has also committed to fund coaching or staff position.

This is a substantial investment by the AAU in building the best Taekwondo team in the world. By supporting players with intellectual disabilities across all genders, classes and age groups equally, the AAU is putting the USA in a position to build deep teams and ensure all deserving athletes have the opportunity and support to represent the USA at the highest levels” says Barry Holman, AWL President.

Interested Taekwondo players from USA should visit the Athletes Without Limits website for more information.

Read full article here.

Italy to host First Beach Soccer tournament for athletes with intellectual impairments

© Beach Soccer Department of the Lega Nazionale Dilettanti

The Beach Soccer Department of the Lega Nazionale Dilettanti will be hosting the first ever beach soccer for athletes with intellectual impairments and Down Syndrome. The event will commence from 5th to 8th May in Lignano Sabbiadoro.

Italian Virtus member-  FISDIR (Federazione Italiana Sport Paralimpici degli Intellettivo Relazionali) in collaboration with Lega Nazionale Dilettanti Beach soccer department will be organizing the event.

Roberto Desini from Beach Soccer Department of Lega Nazionale Dilettanti showed his full support this tournament and emphasized on the importance of such initiative to build an inclusive society.

The social responsibility and inclusion are some of the pillars of our mission, and beach soccer, thanks to its integrating dimension, cannot be an outsider to these kind of initiatives around athletes with disabilities”, he said.

Trofeo Beach Soccer- Categoria C21 is recognized with ASD Sports21 Italia and have revised their rules to be more inclusive for this particular group. 

Interested teams from Italy may contact FISDIR for more details.