Track & Field Opportunities
Athletes Without Limits is looking for talented athletes with intellectual disability to represent the US at Virtus International track & field, half-marathon and cross country events. Interested US athletes should complete our U.S. Athlete Interest Form and and apply for Virtus eligibility.
Virtus eligibility is also the first step for athletes with intellectual impairment seeking Classification in the T20/F20 Class in order to pursue Paralympic Track & Field opportunities.
Scroll below to learn more about the two related pathways through Virtus and Paralympic competition…
ABOUT VIRTUS INTERNATIONAL EVENTS
About: Virtus competitors are an elite group of athletes from around the world making great achievements in Athletics. Virtus-hosted events include World Championships in Track & Field, Cross Country, Half-Marathon and every four years the Virtus Global Games. Athletes Without Limits organizes US National Teams and Trips to Virtus events led by AWL National Coach Scott Brinen.
Virtus Eligiblity & Competition Groups: Athletes Without Limits offers US Track & Field athletes with intellectual impairment who meet qualifying standards the opportunity to compete at Virtus Competitions throughout the World, Virtus events are open to athletes with International Level Eligibility in three Virtus competition groups:
• II-1 Intellectual Disability IQ 75 or lower (Called T20/F20 in Paralympics)
• II-2 Additional Impairment or Tri21 Down Syndrome and
• II-3 Autism+ (IQ 76 or higher)
Virtus competitions are open to athletes in all three Virtus eligibility groups who meet the event qualifying standards and offers a full program of distances and events in Track & Field to athletes with II1-Intellectual Impairment, and an increasing number of individual distances and events for athletes in the new Virtus II2 and Virtus II3 groups.
All athletes who’ve applied for Virtus eligibility can check their status on our US Track & Field Master List.
Upcoming Virtus Events that Offer Track & Field:
2023 Virtus Global Games France
Past Athletes Without Limits US Track & Field Team Trips:
2022 Virtus World Cross Country Championships (San Diego)
Hosted by Athletes Without Limits!
2019 Virtus (Inas) Global Games (Brisbane)
2018 8th Virtus (Inas) Half-Marathon World Championships (Portugal)
2016 Virtus (Inas)-Sanctioned Half-Marathon and 5k (New York)
2015 Virtus (Inas) Global Games (Ecuador)
2014 Virtus (Inas) Cross Country & Half-Marathon World Championships (Poland)
2011 Virtus (Inas) Global Games (Italy)
ABOUT PARALYMPIC TRACK & FIELD
Athletes Without Limits also provides Virtus eligibility required for U.S. athletes looking to compete in the T20 or F20 Class for intellectual impairment at events which follow Paralympic Classification, including four events offered at the Paralympic Games (400m, 1500m, Long Jump and Shot-put).
Quick Links to Information Referenced in this Section:
- USOPC Track & Field Calendar of Events
- USOPC Team USA 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)
Following the 2009 vote to re-include athletes with intellectual impairment into Paralympic competition, Track & Field became one of three inclusive sports, managed internationally by World Para Athletics and in the United States by the USPOC. Eligible athletes with intellectual impairment have the opportunity to qualify to compete in U.S. Paralympic meets and to try to earn a spot on Team USA to compete at the Paralympic Games and other World Para Athletics events.
Athletes Without Limits is proud to have managed the eligibility process for several T20 Paralympic Team Members, including Mike Brannigan (Gold Medalist Rio 2016), Briana Clark (Gold Medalist Rio 2016), Michael Murray (Rio 2016, London 2012), Tysheem Griffin (Rio 2016) and others.
Who’s Eligible for Paralympics?
The Paralympic class for Track and Field athletes with intellectual impairment is T20/F20. The Prefix “T” to the class denotes Track events (e.g. T20) while “F” denotes Field events (e.g. F20).
The T20/F20 class is open to athletes who meet the Virtus II1 Eligibility Criteria which is: an IQ of 75 or lower, significant limitations in Adaptive Behavior and onset before age 22. As the US Member of Virtus, the first step toward classification is to apply to Athletes Without Limits for Virtus II1 Eligibility.
Note about Down Syndrome: While there is not a separate Paralympic Class for athletes with Trisomy or Translocation Down Syndrome who compete as Virtus II1 at Virtus events, athletes with Down syndrome who meet the IQ and Adaptive Behavior criteria for the Virtus II-1 group are eligible to compete as T20/F20 athletes.
Note about Autism: Athletes with Autism and IQ of 75 or below are Virtus II1-eligible and therefore eligible for Paralympics, while athletes with Autism and an IQ of 76 in the Virtus II3 group are not Paralympic-eligible but may compete at Virtus-hosted events.
About Paralympic National Classification
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 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.
Individual Events offered in Paralympics
Note that while developmental meets may offer a full program, in high-level Paralympic competition there are a limited number of individual events open to athletes with Intellectual Impairment. In Track & Field these currently include:
- 400m (Men/Women T20 Class)
- 1500m (Men/Women T20 Class)
- Long Jump (Men/Women F20 Class)
- Shot Put (Men/Women F20 Class)
About Paralympic International Licensing and Classification
Only athletes who meet Paralympic Team Emerging Time Standards one of the events open to T20/F20 athletes at the Paralympic Games require Paralympic International Classification Appointments and Licensing. As of the 2020 Games those events are: 400m, 1500m, Long Jump or Shotput.
- Athletes who are meeting Paralympic Team Emerging Time Standards should apply to Athletes Without Limits to complete full Virtus International Level II1 Eligibility ($150) if they have not done so already.
- Athletes who have completed Virtus International Eligibility and who are meeting Paralympic Team Emerging Time Standards in the 400m, 1500m, Long Jump or Shotput may then apply to the USOPC for an IPC License (25$/year).
- Once athletes have obtained an IPC License they may ask the USOPC to request an International Classification Appointment at the 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 Team USA Paralympic Team Trials.
Note that Virtus-hosted Track & Field events, while only open to athletes with intellectual impairments are sanctioned by Word Para Athletics — so traveling with Athletes Without Limits as part of our US Team participating in these events provides high-level Virtus II1 (T20/F20) competitors an opportunity to achieve Paralympic-qualifying times and obtain International Classification appointments.
Our next trip to a Virtus event is the 2023 Virtus Global Games in France.