BBC Coverage of Reinclusion into Paralympics

BBC Sport has provided news coverage of the re-inclusion (2009) of athletes with intellectual disability in Paralympic competition. Athletes with intellectual disability participated in the 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney games but were banned from competition when members of Spain’s basketball team were found to have no disability.

November 21, 2009: Intellectual disability ban ends

Athletes with intellectual disabilities can once again take part in the Paralympics after an International Paralympic Committee (IPC) vote. They had been banned since it was found that most of Spain’s intellectual disability basketball team at the 2000 Sydney Paralympics were not disabled. As a result, “sports intelligence” tests will form part of the new, more rigorous classification process. ParalympicsGB said it “welcomed” the decision taken on Saturday….

November 20, 2009: Paralympics ponder key rule change

This is going to be an anxious weekend for Ben Procter and his grandparents. Although Ben – who is 19 and from Newquay in Cornwall – has a serious learning disability, he’s been swimming to a very high standard since he was five. He would have had every chance of making the GB team for the Beijing Paralympics last year. Instead he had to watch it on television for what to him must have seemed very puzzling reasons. Athletes with learning disabilities have been banned since 2000. Their reinstatement hangs in the balance, with a decision due on Saturday at the congress of the International Paralympic Committee in Kuala Lumpur….

October 23, 2009: Athletes aim for 2012 inclusion

(This is full article as link to original is no longer available.) Intellectual disability athletes will find out next month if they can compete at the London 2012 Paralympics. They have been banned since it was found that most of Spain’s intellectual disability basketball team at the 2000 Sydney Paralympics were not disabled. The International Sports Federation for Persons with an Intellectual Disability (Inas) has been working with the International Paralympic Committee. They have jointly proposed a motion to next month’s IPC General Assembly. The motion calls on the assembly to acknowledge the progress that has been made by the joint IPC/Inas working group and that the criteria for the reintroduction of athletes with an intellectual disability to Paralympic Games has been met. It also requests that athletes are eligible to compete in their respective International Federation-sanctioned competition, including London 2012.

The General Assembly takes place in Kuala Lumpar from 19-22 November. “Having the IPC Governing Board so positively associated with this motion will send a very powerful signal to the entire IPC membership,” said Inas president Dr Bob Price. “However, nothing is guaranteed and we must not be complacent.” Intellectual disability athletes were barred from competing at both the Athens and Beijing Games but a team of seven swimmers are part of the GB team at the IPC European Swimming Championships in Iceland which draw to a close on Saturday – the first IPC event at which British intellectual disability athletes have been allowed to compete. (end)

September 13 , 2008: Paralympics set to alter entry policy

Athletes with intellectual disabilities could be able to compete at the 2012 Games, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced. The decision still needs to be ratified at an IPC assembly in November 2009. The IPC suspended intellectually disabled categories after Sydney 2000 when 10 members of Spain’s basketball team did not have any disabilities. The IPC said it will reinstate the class but will closely monitor which athletes qualify for events. The IPC highlighted three main areas of concern; eligibility, sport specificity and on site protests and appeals….

July 6, 2009: Stuart seeks Global Games glory

Scottish athlete Allan Stuart knows a good performance at this week’s Global Games could help him take a big step towards the London 2012 Paralympics. The event, for athletes with an intellectual disability, starts on Tuesday in the Czech Republic. Those athletes are currently barred from taking part in Paralympic Games.”It has been a frustrating situation and the Global Games are important for us to show that we deserve to be at a Paralympics,” Stuart told BBC Sport….

June 26, 2006: Paralympic row remains unresolved

Athletes with intellectual disabilities will continue to be excluded from major events sanctioned by the International Paralympic Committee. The IPC’s governing board announced the decision in Lausanne on Tuesday after several months of deliberation. It accepted research findings which concluded that a fool-proof eligibility system has yet to be developed. The ruling means athletes with an intellectual disability cannot compete in the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. The research also concluded that the general eligibility system developed by the International Sports Federation for Persons with an Intellectual Disability (Inas) did not achieve the standard expected for IPC competitions. The row over intellectual disability erupted at the Sydney Paralympics when it was found that most of the members of the victorious Spanish basketball team were not disabled….

November 25, 2004: IPC to continue eligibility talks

The International Paralympic Committee has voted not to permanently suspend learning disability athletes from competing at the Paralympics. The IPC had threatened the athletes with complete expulsion following an ongoing dispute over eligibility. But they will now continue with discussions to try to find an acceptable solution to the problem. The dispute centres around the IPC’s demand for more robust criteria to measure whether an athlete has a learning disability. The row over learning disability athletes erupted at the Sydney Paralympics when it was found that most of the members of the victorious Spanish basketball team were found not to be disabled….

September 24, 2004: Swimmer gives up Paralympic dream

For Paralympic silver medallist Francis Dart, the success of Team GB’s swimmers in Athens is tinged with bitterness. The world and UK record-holder has been forced to watch this week’s events from his home in Reading, Berkshire. His dreams of further Paralympic success were scuppered when athletes with learning disabilities were dropped from the Games. Disgusted at his treatment, the 25-year-old has now vowed to stop competing at international level….

December 14, 2000: Spain ordered to return golds

Spain’s Paralympic basketball team have been ordered to return their gold medals after nearly all of their players were found to have no disability. The Spanish Paralympic Committee said the medals would be handed back after an inquiry found that 10 of the 12-strong squad suffered no handicap. The scandal has already led to the resignation of Fernando Martin Vicente, vice-president of the committee and president of the Spanish Federation for Mentally Handicapped Sports. Last month, Carlos Ribagorda, a member of the team, said he and nine colleagues were not subjected to any medical or psychological tests to check their eligibility….