Theme – What does sport mean to me?

According to WHO 2011 report, 2-3% of the world population have an intellectual impairment. That’s between 178-256 million people worldwide. It is estimated that about 1% of the world population have autism (WHO, 2022), which accounts for another 78 million people. Through sport, Virtus and the IDEAL_2.0 project want to support our athletes with intellectual impairment and/or autism to change attitudes, challenge perceptions, and strengthen communities locally and globally. 

The IDEAL_2.0 project is funded by the EU and brings together a consortium of partners that share the ambition to strive towards an inclusive and equitable world of sports for people with intellectual impairment and/or autism. As one of the IDEAL_2.0 partners, Virtus is responsible for raising awareness in society about the meaning of sport for our athletes and their potential to excel in sports and even become elite athletes. 

Sport has proved to bring significant changes in the lives of people with intellectual impairment and/or autism. For some, it is a pathway to their Paralympic dream, while for others it helps them forge their own destiny into another profession. For many, sports gives them meaningful friendships and for others, it is a place they can go all out and be themselves. 

To bring out the unspoken stories, Virtus is organizing a photo contest in conjunction with the IDEAL 2.0 project, to give people with an intellectual impairment and/or autism a chance to share “what does sport mean to me”

1. Luc Percival

Luc Percival is an international professional Para-sport photographer who is known for capturing dynamic and impactful images of athletes with disabilities, showcasing their strength, determination, and athleticism

Recognised as a leading Para Sports photographer, Luc has worked as official photographer for the IPC at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games, 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships, World Para Snow Sports World Cups and World Championships and CPSF France Paralympique at the Rio 2016, PeyongChang 2018, Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympic Games as well as photographing for numerous other National Paralympic Committees and Federations like the Federation Francaise de Sport Adapté and the Federation Francaise Handisport, Parasports teams, and global ParaSports and Adaptive sports federations such as IWAS and Virtus Sport. 

 Luc’s work has been published extensively around the world and recently was a finalist in the FFPMI Medaille Francaise de Photographie Sport with a photo from the 2019 World ParaAthletics Championships in Dubai.  Luc was also cited as one of the top ten of’s European Sportphotographers to follow.

2. Hiroyuki Yakushi

Hiroyuki Yakushi is a highly respected sports journalist, born in 1946 and hailing from Japan. As a member of both the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) and the Japanese Sports Press Association (AJPS), he has covered a vast array of sporting events over his lengthy career.

With a particular passion for winter sports, Hiroyuki has been covering the FIS Alpine World Cup every year since 1969, an impressive 13 Olympic Winter Games since 1972. He has also covered five Olympic Summer Games and three Paralympic Games.

In recognition of his outstanding work, Hiroyuki was awarded the FIS Journalist Award during the 2011/2012 season, cementing his reputation as one of the leading sports journalists in his field. Most recently, he covered the 2023 VIRTUS World Skiing Championship, Seefeld/AUSTRIA, this March, bringing his vast experience and expertise to bear on this exciting sporting event.


Competition partner

Virtus is the brand name of the International Sports Federation for athletes with intellectual impairment and is a founding member of the International Paralympic Committee. Registered as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation in the UK (1173901)

© Copyright - VIRTUS 2021