The Games FAQ’s


INAS and Paralympic Terminology explained.

IPC – the International Paralympic Committee

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is the global governing body of the Paralympic Movement.

Its purpose is to organise the summer and winter Paralympic Games and act as the International Federation for ten sports, supervising and coordinating World Championships and other competitions.

The vision of the IPC is ‘To enable Para athletes to achieve sporting excellence and inspire and excite the world.’

Enable – Creating conditions for athlete empowerment

Para athletes – The primary focus, from initiation to elite level

Achieve – Sporting excellence is the goal of a sport centred organisation

Inspire and excite – Touch the heart of all people for a more equitable society

Founded in 1989 as a non-profit organisation, it is based in Bonn, Germany and aims to develop sports opportunities for all people with an impairment from the beginner to elite level.

INAS – The International Federation for athletes with intellectual impairment

INAS (originally called INAS-FMH) was established in 1986 to promote the participation of athletes with “mental handicap”. The founding meeting and first Executive were appointed in January 1986 and INAS became a member of the ICC – the International Coordinating Committee – which in 1992 became the International Paralympic Committee.

INAS’ original membership was just 14 nations which has steadily grown to more than 75 nations today.

INAS conduct sport programs across 15 summer and winter sports annually, more than 4,500 athletes are registered to compete at an international level, whilst more than 300,000 people with an intellectual impairment worldwide have the opportunity to enjoy sport through the work of our member organisations.

IOSD International Organisations for Impairment Sport – recognised by the International Paralympic Committee

IF – International Federations for Sport

INAS Regions – Europe, Asia, Americas, Oceania and Africas

INAS Nation Members – 75 countries across the globe

SIA – Sport Inclusion Australia (Nation Member of INAS)

NSO – National Sporting Organisation (Federations) 

SSO – State Sporting Organisation


What is Intellectual Impairment?

IPC Definition – A limitation in intellectual functioning and adaptive behaviour as expressed in conceptual, social and practical adaptive skills, which originates before the age of 18.

INAS Definition – To be considered eligible to compete as an athlete with an intellectual impairment, athletes must meet the eligibility criteria as defined by INAS.

These are based upon the World Health Organisation and American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) research and guidance.

In simple terms the criteria state that an athlete must show:

  An IQ of 75 or lower

  Significant limitations in adaptive behaviour in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills.

  The impairment must have been diagnosed before 18 years of age

How many people in the world have intellectual disability?

The World Health Organisation estimate that between 2 and 3% of the worlds population – approx. 178 million.

In line with the World Health Organisation, INAS is moving away from using the word ‘impairment’.

The word reflects an interaction between features of a person’s body and features of society and normally infers that you are unable to do something.

The term “athlete with an intellectual impairment” is now preferred when describing athletes. This shifts the focus more onto athletes’ abilities and what they are able to achieve.

In the long term, our aspiration is that there is no need to use either word. Those who participate in INAS and Paralympic sport programs and events are athletes.

The inspirational message they send every day through their incredible sporting achievements can help bring about social change – challenging perceptions, changing attitudes and strengthening communities locally and globally.

Impairment should always be used instead of disability.

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