HISTORY OF THE PARALYMPIC MOVEMENT (PART 2)

At the beginning, 16 countries were affiliated members to ISOD and the organisation tried very hard to promote blind and amputee athletes into the program of the Toronto 1976 Paralympics and athletes with cerebral palsy to program in 1980 Paralympics in Arnhem. Its purpose was to include all impairments in the future and to become a Co-coordinating Committee. Nonetheless, other Global organizations that work in favor of disability people such as the Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association (CPISRA) and International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) were established in 1978 and 1980 respectively.

The four international organisations namely CPISRA, IBSA, ISMGF and ISOD, recognized the demand of organizing the Games so they found the “International Co-coordinating Committee Sports for the Disability in the World” (ICC) in the year of 1982. Four presidents of the general secretaries and one additional member (in the early day it was the Vice-President, and later on the Technical Officer) were founding members.

The International Committee of Sport for the Deaf (CISS) and International Sports Federations for Persons with Intellectual Disability (INAS-FID) were later included to ICC in 1986, although the deaf still kept maintained their own organisation as the member nations needed more national and regional representatives in the organisation.

INTERNATIONAL PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE IS BORN

Eventually, on 22 September 1989, the International Paralympic Committee was officially founded as an international not for profit organisation in Dusseldorf, Germany. IPC operates as the international governing body of the Paralympic Games Movement.

The word “Paralympic” rooted from the Greek language with preposition “para” and the word “Olympic” which means the parallel Games to the Olympics Games and described how the two movements operate side-by-side each other.

Paralympic athletes compete in six different categories of disability including visual impairment, amputee, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, intellectual disability, and “les autres” (the others means the ones with disability does not fit into one of the other categories, such as dwarfism). Within each group, athletes are continuously divided into classes depends on the type and extent of their disabilities. Individual athletes may be reclassified as coming further into the later competitions if their physical status changes.

The size and diversity of the Paralympic Games have developed rapidly over the years. The Paralympics in 1960 included 400 athletes from 23 countries took part in eight sports. Just over 50 years later, at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, there were more than 4,200 athletes representing 164 countries joined in 20 sports.