About Paralympic Eligibility & Classification

Virtus: World Intellectual Impairment Sport is the governing body for para-athletes with an intellectual impairment and a member of the International Paralympic Committee. Virtus Eligibility is the first step for athletes looking to pursue Paralympic opportunities for athletes with an intellectual impairment. As the US Member of Virtus, Athletes Without Limits manages this process for US athletes.

*Note that “Virtus” recently changed its name from “Inas” which may not be updated throughout the internet.

PARALYMPIC OVERVIEW

  • History (click for details)

    Since 2009 Athletes Without Limits has been the US Member of Virtus: World Intellectual Impairment Sport managing eligibility for US athletes competing at Athletes Without Limits National Events, and on Athletes Without Limits US National Teams traveling to Virtus Global Games & World Championships (in up to 16 sports).

    Virtus is also a founding member of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), which re-included athletes with an intellectual impairment in select events within three sports in 2010: Swimming, Table Tennis, and Track & Field.

    Athletes Without Limits helped Michael Murray to become the first US athlete with an intellectual disability to qualify for the U.S. Paralympic Team when he competed in the London 2012 Paralympics. At the 2016 Rio Games five athletes with an intellectual impairment were selected to the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Team (in all three sports) and four went to Rio to compete. Read more on our Paralympic Games page.

  • National vs. International Eligibility & Classification (click for details)

    New athletes looking to compete in developmental Paralympic events that only require “National classification” should apply for our National Level II1 Eligibility. Athletes performing at a high-level (this means achieving time standards set by U.S. Paralympics) who are nearing U.S. Paralympic Team qualification should apply for our International Level II1 Eligibility, which is required to be able to complete the IPC Licensing & International Classification process for Paralympic athletes with intellectual impairment described by sport below.

PARALYMPIC INFORMATION BY SPORT

  • Paralympic Swimming (click for details)

    Managed by World Para Swimming Internationally and U.S. Paralympics for US Athletes
    The Paralympic Swimming Class S14/SB14 is open to athletes with an Intellectual Disability. Some meets are open to athletes with National Virtus II1 eligibility (called “National Classification” in Paralympics) and some require higher time-standards and International Virtus II1 eligibility in order to become “Internationally Classified.”

    Virtus National Eligibility / Paralympic National Classification
    To enter meets athletes must meet the qualifying times/standards set by each meet. Many events in the U.S. that are sanctioned by Paralympics or use Paralympic Classification are open to new and developmental level athletes. These events only require “National Eligibility/Classification” and athletes do not need an International Paralympic License or International Classification Appointment, which are only intended or athletes who’ve met elite level time standards.

    Virtus International Eligibility / Paralympic International Classification
    Only athletes who meet Paralympic Team Emerging Time Standards one for more of the seven events open to S14/SB14 athletes at the Paralympic Games (100m free, 200m free, 100m back, 100m breast, 100m fly, 200m IM, and 4x100m free relay) require Virtus International Eligibility, Paralympic International Licensing & Classification.
    See U.S. Paralympic Swim Team Emerging Time Standards

    1. Athletes who are meeting Paralympic Team Emerging Time Standards should first apply to Athletes Without Limits for Virtus International Level Eligibility ($150) if they have not done so already.
      Apply for Virtus International Eligibility
    2. Athletes who have completed Virtus International Eligibility and who are meeting Paralympic Team Emerging Time Standards in the 400m, 1500m, Long Jump or Shotput may then apply to U.S. Paralympics for an IPC License (25$/year).
      See U.S. Paralympics IPC License Application for S14 Swimmers
    3. Once athletes have obtained an IPC License they may ask U.S. Paralympics to request an “International Classification Appointment” at their next event that offers International Classification specifically for athletes with Intellectual Impairment. International Classification appointments for athletes with an intellectual impairment involve skills testing and observation on a day prior to the competition. Athletes in contention for U.S. Paralympic Team selection must complete two such appointments (to go from “N” New to “R” Review to “C” Confirmed status) in time for U.S. Paralympic Team Trials.
      See U.S. Paralympics International Classification Page for Swimmers

    Note that Virtus-hosted World Championships/Global Games meets open only to athletes with intellectual impairments are sanctioned by Word Para Swimming — so traveling with Athletes Without Limits as part of our USA Team participating in these events provides high level Virtus II1 (S14/SB14) competitors an opportunity to achieve Paralympic-qualifying times and seeking International Classification appointments. Our most recent such trip was to the Global Games in Australia in 2019.

    Below is a summary of links to the pages on the U.S. Paralympic website referenced above:

    (Note the pages linked above may still refer to “Virtus” by it’s former name “Inas”)

  • Paralympic Table Tennis (click for details)

    Managed by USATT Nationally and ITTF Internationally
    Paralympic Table Tennis Class 11 is open to athletes with an Intellectual Disability. Some events are open to athletes with National Virtus II1 eligibility and some require higher ratings and International Virtus II1 eligibility. A separate licensing and classification system for Table Tennis is managed by USATT Nationally and ITTF Internationally. (Note that Virtus Global Games and World Championship II1 Table Tennis events are sanctioned by ITTF so are also Paralympic-qualifying opportunities for athletes with Virtus II1 International Eligibility.)

    (Note the pages linked above may still refer to “Virtus” by it’s former name “Inas”)

  • Paralympic Track & Field (click for details)

    Managed by World Para Athletics Internationally and U.S. Paralympics for US Athletes
    The Paralympic Athletics Class T20/F20 is open to athletes with an Intellectual Disability. Some meets are open to athletes with National Virtus II1 eligibility (called “National Classification” in Paralympics) and some require higher time-standards and International Virtus II1 eligibility in order to become “Internationally Classified” by Paralympics.

    Virtus National Eligibility / Paralympic National Classification
    To enter meets athletes must meet the qualifying times/standards set by each meet. Many events in the U.S. that are sanctioned by Paralympics or use Paralympic Classification are open to new and developmental level athletes. These events only require “National Eligibility/Classification” and athletes do not need an International Paralympic License or International Classification Appointment, which are only intended or athletes who’ve met elite level time standards.

    Virtus International Eligibility / Paralympic International Classification
    Only athletes who meet Paralympic Team Emerging Time Standards one for more of the four events open to T20/F20 athletes at the Paralympic Games (400m, 1500m, Long Jump or Shotput) require Virtus International Eligibility, Paralympic International Licensing & Classification.
    See U.S. Paralympic Track & Field Team Emerging Time Standards

    1. Athletes who are meeting Paralympic Team Emerging Time Standards should first apply to Athletes Without Limits for Virtus International Level Eligibility ($150) if they have not done so already.
      Apply for Virtus International Eligibility
    2. Athletes who have completed Virtus International Eligibility and who are meeting Paralympic Team Emerging Time Standards in the 400m, 1500m, Long Jump or Shotput may then apply to U.S. Paralympics for an IPC License (25$/year).
      See U.S. Paralympics Application for International IPC Licensing for T20/F20 Track & Field
    3. Once athletes have obtained an IPC License they may ask U.S. Paralympics to request an “International Classification Appointment” at their next event that offers International Classification specifically for athletes with Intellectual Impairment. International Classification appointments for athletes with an intellectual impairment involve skills testing and observation on a day prior to the competition. Athletes in contention for U.S. Paralympic Team selection must complete two such appointments (to go from “N” New to “R” Review to “C” Confirmed status) in time for U.S. Paralympic Team Trials. 
      See U.S. Paralympics page on International Classification for T20/F20 Track & Field athletes.

    Note that Virtus-hosted World Championships/Global Games Track & Field Meets open only to athletes with intellectual impairments are sanctioned by Word Para Athletics — so traveling with Athletes Without Limits as part of our USA Team participating in these events provides high level Virtus II1 (T20/F20) competitors an opportunity to achieve Paralympic-qualifying times and seeking International Classification appointments. Our most recent such trip was to the Global Games in Australia in 2019.

    Below is a summary of links to the pages on the U.S. Paralympic website referenced above:

    (Note the pages linked above may still refer to “Virtus” by it’s former name “Inas”)