Virtus calls on IPC and IF’s to increase Paralympic inclusion

Marking the occasion of the 2023 International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Virtus has once called upon the Paralympic family to honour its commitment to increasing the representation of athletes with an intellectual impairment in the Paralympic Games.

In 2017, the IPC membership passed a motion which mandated greater inclusion which could be achieved through additional sports, additional medal events or additional eligibility classes, but to date no such change has been agreed.

Marc Truffaut, Virtus President said, “When the Virtus Governing Board met recently, we discussed the work that has been done by Virtus in this area, but ultimately the decision and responsibility lies with IPC and the International Federations of sport”.

“Our priority is the inclusion of Nordic and Alpine Skiing in the 2030 Winter Paralympic Games and we call upon the Federation of International Skiing- FIS to share this commitment in their plans which must be submitted to IPC by the end of January 2024. Secondly, we would also like to see basketball added back to the Summer Games programme for athletes with an intellectual impairment”.

“And Virtus will continue to work closely with several International Federations who have indicated a willingness to target inclusion in future Games helping to develop classification systems and growing the competition base”.

Earlier at the 2023 Virtus Global Games in Vichy, France, President of the International Paralympic Committee, Andrew Parsons, also shared how important athletes with intellectual impairments are for the Paralympic movement.

“At the IPC, we are committed to working with Virtus and international federations to develop greater opportunities for athletes with intellectual impairment to compete at the highest level in the Paralympic movement,” said Andrew Parsons.

“It gives me great satisfaction that this time we are seeing for the very first time II1, II2 and II3 classes here. Congratulations to Virtus, this is such an achievement. And make no mistake, athletes with intellectual impairment,  trisomy 21, Down syndrome, athletes with autism, YOU EXIST and therefore you are important for the International Paralympic Committee.”

Athletes with an intellectual impairment are the largest impairment group by number worldwide but the least represented in the Paralympic Games. Currently, athletes are eligible for a limited medal programme in athletics, swimming and table tennis.