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Disabled Sports History


Disabled sports activities could be traced in the decade leading to the year 1880. Its introduction, however, began in the year 1945; firstly, treating patients with spinal cord injuries which eventually led to the world movement for disabled sports known today as Paralympic Movement.

Sir Loudvic Gatmen changed the rehabilitation theory in Stock Mandeville of England with a particular emphasis on sport. After a few years, what has come into being as a by-product of physical rehabilitation for the 2nd world war athletes evolved as a sports-oriented movement which focuses on the athletes' potentials.

In the year 1948, Sir Loudvic Gatmen launched the Stock Mandeville Games. The first edition of this multi-nation event (war-injured of England and Holland) gave rise to organization of the first international Stock Mande Games in 1952 and considered as an introduction for the Modern Paralympic Games.

At the outset, the Paralympic movement was developed through establishing sports organizations peculiar to various disabilities which are known as international disabled organizations today. The first body of such organizations entitled “International Stock Mandeville Games Committee” (ISMGC) was formed in Rome, Italy in 1960. In 1972, this organization changed its name to “International Stock Mandeville Games Federation” (ISMGF) and was later known as “International Stock Mandeville Wheelchair Sports Federation” (ISMWSF).

In 1964, the international disabled sports organization was founded which also covered amputee athletes.

In the year 2004, ISMWSF and ISOD merged and formed the International Wheelchair Amputee Sports (IWAS).

In the year 1978, Cerebral Palsy (CPISRA) and following that in 1981 international blind sports federation and mentally retarded international sports federation (ID) (INAS-FIS) in 1986 were established.

In the year 1960, the 9th International stock Mandeville Games was held in Rome, Italy only following a few weeks after the Olympic Games. This sports event resembled as the 1st edition of the Paralympic Games given its symbolic nature as well as massive participation of more than 400 athletes from 23 countries.

Since then, the Paralympic Games are being organized in the same year when the Olympic Games are held and its first edition was held in summer of 1988 in Seoul in venues and cities used for the Olympic Games. From that year onward, this event is held under the official title of “Paralympic Games”. The prefix Para means together with or accompanying and the word Olympics is originated from Greek language.

The 1s winter Paralympic games was held in Omskoldsvik, Sweden in 1976. Ever since 1992 games held in Tignes-Albertville, France, the winter Paralympic Games are held in cities where the Winter Olympic Games are organized.

In parallel with the development of this movement, the necessity for further coordination and cooperation among various sports bodies was felt.

In the year 1982, ISMGF, CPISRA, IBSA and ISOD were merged to create the International Coordination Committee-ICC- for disabled athletes. In 1986, the international committee for deaf sports (CISS) and the international sports federation for mentally retarded athletes (INAS-FID) joined to this committee.

ICC was responsible for the interests of disabled groups and managing the Paralympic Games from 1982 to 1992. Nevertheless, the countries’ ever-increasing demand and the sport-oriented movement resulted in the establishment of International Paralympic Committee (IPC) in 1992 in Düsseldorf, Germany as governing authority of the Paralympic movement.

The representatives of six organizations i.e. the founding members, and 42 national Paralympic committees as well as national bodies of disabled sports attended that meeting who approved IPC statute and appointed Dr. Robert Stedwart from Canada as its first president. It took about 5 years until IPC undertook all duties related to the Paralympic Games.

In the year 2001, IPC General Assembly was missioned to revise IPC organizational chart. The mission for the strategic revision process began in the year 2002 under new leadership, Mr. Flip Keryon. This process reached to its culmination and bore fruit with the endorsement of IPC Statute in 2004.

The Statute and bylaws govern the IPC and Paralympic movement. The IPC GA held in Torino in the year 2003 endorsed a vision which reflects the ultimate objective of the Paralympic movement.

Empowering the Paralympic athletes to attain sports enhancement, inspiring the world towards them and creating excitement for them are amongst the IPC absolute authority. The Paralympic Movement covers all athletes and officials of the national Paralympic committees, IOSDs, Ifs, IPC councils, Standing Committees, Regional Organizations and other individuals and organizations which are abided by IPC Statute and bylaws. Joining the Paralympic Movement requires official membership or IPC approval. 

The IPC headquarter has been in Brussel, Belgium since its establishment. In the year 1997, IPC General Assembly voted for moving the headquarters to Germany and initiated an organizational chart with expert staff in mind for the first time.

The official opening of the new IPC headquarters was held on 3rd September 1999 with participation of 500 guests from 60 countries.

Sources: Cultural & Studies Department of National Paralympic Committee

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