Today, delegations from across the World begin to return home following their participation in the 2015 World Intellectual Impairment Sport Global Games.
Over the past week, Ecuador has witnessed some fantastic performances from the world’s best athletes with an intellectual disability.
Almost 600 athletes from 32 nations competed in the 4th edition of the Games which included competition in athletics, basketball, cycling, futsal, indoor rowing, swimming, table tennis, tennis and – for the first time in the Games – Taekwondo.
We would like to congratulate all athletes on a fantastic week of sport.
However, away from the field of play, delivery of the Games has been beset by multiple and substantial problems following the collapse of the host organisation and Local Organising Committee (LOC), the Federación Ecuatoriana de Deportes para personas con Discapacidad Intelectual (FEDEDI) who were contractually responsible for the full financing and delivery of the Games.
With support from the World Intellectual Impairment Sport team together with incredible efforts of delegations, officials, technical staff and more – competition began as planned on Tuesday 22nd September. However on that same morning, the LOC informed World Intellectual Impairment Sport that they were no longer in a financial position to deliver the Games through to their conclusion on Sunday 27th September.
Despite our extensive efforts to get competition underway, the Games were once again threatened.
The World Intellectual Impairment Sport Governing Board met and agreed that in the interests of the organisation and most importantly the athletes we represent, the 4th Global Games must continue. All 32 delegations present have worked tirelessly to secure the funding to enable their participation in the Games and athletes have trained hard to qualify and compete. The World Intellectual Impairment Sport Governing Board was determined that this would not be denied.
World Intellectual Impairment Sport therefore immediately assumed a full operational delivery role and began to put in place strategies to ensure successful delivery of the full competition programme. However with such a fundamental failure of the LOC, this was both difficult and at substantial cost to World Intellectual Impairment Sport.
World Intellectual Impairment Sport also requested the intervention of the Ecuadorian Sports Ministry who immediately began to assemble a team to help support the operational delivery of the Games but also assist World Intellectual Impairment Sport to more fully understand the circumstances surrounding the catastrophic failure of the LOC.
At times it seemed the mission to deliver the Games was impossible – such was the level of failure of the LOC – but on Saturday 26th September (following some small programming changes) competition across the entire programme came to its successful conclusion.
This was a remarkable achievement and was only possible thanks to the combined efforts of so many people. World Intellectual Impairment Sport is indebted to every single person who supported the Games this week in whatever their capacity. To all of these people, we thank you on behalf of the delegations present and all elite athletes with an intellectual disability.
We particularly thank the Ecuadorian Sports Ministry for their involvement and assistance. Without this help the Games simply would not have been possible.
In the days, weeks and months ahead there will be much analysis of the 4th World Intellectual Impairment Sport Global Games. World Intellectual Impairment Sport is already taking legal advice in respect of the failure of the Local Organising Committee, the circumstances surrounding the host organisation (FEDEDI) and in particular, the actions of its President, Juan Carlos Araujo.
As delegations begin to leave Ecuador, we want to thank you for your participation in these Games. To the medal winners and all the athletes, we congratulate you on your performances, and to our many friends who made these Games possible in the most difficult of circumstances we say thank you.
World Intellectual Impairment Sport will continue and will grow stronger, and in just 4 years time, we look forward to the opening ceremony of the 5th World Intellectual Impairment Sport Global Games in Brisbane, Australia.