About Paralympic Eligibility & Classification

Virtus: World Intellectual Impairment Sport (formerly called Inas) is the governing body for para-athletes with an intellectual impairment and a member of the International Paralympic Committee. Virtus Eligibility is for athletes interested in competing with AWL US Teams at Virtus Competition. Virtus Eligibility is also 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.

Virtus Eligibility Groups & Paralympic Classification
Virtus has expanded our competition to athletes with intellectual impairment in the three eligibility groups below, while Paralympics has one class for athletes with intellectual impairment ( which is called S14/SB14 in Swimming, Class 11 in Table Tennis and T20/F20 in Track & Field). Only athletes who meet the Virtus II1 criteria are eligible for Paralympic competition for intellectual impairment.

Virtus II1-Intellectual Disability (IQ 75 or lower, Significant Adaptive Limitations, Onset before 18)
Virtus II1 athletes are eligible to compete in Paralympic Swimming S14, Table Tennis Class 11, or Track & Field T20/F20.

Virtus II2-Intellectual Disability with Significant Additional Impairment (Tri21 Down Syndrome)
Virtus II2 athletes can compete together with II1 athletes in Paralympic classes since they also meet the II1 Criteria (but must provide all required II1 evidence with their eligibility application).

Virtus II3-Autism with IQ 76 or higher (Sometimes called ‘High Functioning Autism’).
Virtus II3 athletes are not eligible for Paralympics, which is only open to athletes with an IQ of 75 or lower.

PARALYMPIC OVERVIEW

  • Paralympic History for Athletes with Intellectual Impairment (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 to Athletes Without Limits for National Level II1 Eligibility. (Note: It is not necessary to make a “National Classification Appointment” at the event as these are intended for athletes with physical or visual impairments.)

    Athletes performing at a high-level —achieving time standards set by U.S. Paralympics — who are nearing U.S. Paralympic Team qualification should apply to Athletes Without Limits International Level II1 Eligibility, which is required to be able to complete the IPC Licensing & International Classification process for Paralympic athletes with intellectual impairment. (This is explained in greater detail 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 a “Paralympic Team Emerging Time Standard” in one of the events open to Swimmers with Intellectual Impairment (S14) at the Paralympic Games require Virtus International Eligibility, Paralympic International Licensing & International (IPC) Classification.

    As of the 2020 Games these events are: 200m free, 100m back, 100m breast, 100m fly, 200m IM, and 4x100m free relay

    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).

    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.

    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. Future Virtus events are posted on the AWL Event Calendar.

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

    U.S. Paralympic Swim Calendar of Events
    U.S. Paralympic Swim Team Emerging Time Standards
    U.S. Paralypmics IPC License Application for Swimmers (who’ve met Emerging Time Standards)
    U.S. Paralympics International Classification Page for Swimmers (who’ve met Emerging Time Standards)

    (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. Future Virtus events are posted on the AWL Event Calendar.

    (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 of the events open to T20/F20 athletes at the Paralympic Games require Virtus International Eligibility, Paralympic International Licensing & Classification. As of the 2020 Games those events are: 400m, 1500m, Long Jump or Shotput

    1. Athletes who are meeting Paralympic Team Emerging Time Standards should first apply to Athletes Without Limits for Virtus International Level Eligibility ($150) if they have not done so already.
      Apply for Virtus International Eligibility
    2. 2. Athletes who have completed Virtus International Eligibility and who are meeting Paralympic Team Emerging Time Standards in the 400m, 1500m, Long Jump or Shotput may then apply to U.S. Paralympics for an IPC License (25$/year).
    3. 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.

    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. Future Virtus events are posted on the AWL Event Calendar.

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

    U.S. Paralympic Track & Field Calendar of Events
    U.S. Paralympic Team Emerging Time Standards
    International IPC Licensing for T20/F20 Track & Field athletes (who’ve met Emerging Time Standards)
    International Classification for T20/F20 Track & Field athletes (who’ve met Emerging Time Standards)

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