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About the IWAS World Games

By July 3, 2017 No Comments

The International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports (IWAS) World Games (or IWAS World Games) are a multi-sport competition for athletes with a disability, which under the former name of the International Stoke Mandeville Games were the forerunner of the Paralympic Games. The competition has been formerly known as the World Wheelchair and Amputee Games, the Stoke Mandeville Wheelchair Games, the Stoke Mandeville Games, the World Wheelchair Games, and in the 1960s and 1970s was often referred to as the Wheelchair Olympics.

The Games were originally held in 1948 by neurologist Sir Ludwig Guttmann, who organized a sporting competition involving World War II veterans with spinal cord injuries at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital rehabilitation facility in Aylesbury, England, taking place concurrently with the first post-war Summer Olympics in London. In 1952, the Netherlands joined in the event, creating the first international sports competition for the disabled.

In 1960, the Ninth Stoke Mandeville Games were held in Rome, Italy, following that year’s Olympic Games. These are considered to be the first Paralympic Games. The 2012 Paralympic mascot Mandeville was named after Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

While the Paralympic Games evolved to include athletes from all disability groups, the Stoke Mandeville games continued to be organized as a multi-sport event for wheelchair athletes. Games were held annually in Aylesbury under the direction of the International Stoke Mandeville Games Federation (ISMGF), which became the International Stoke Mandeville Wheelchair Sports Federation (ISMWSF).

In 1999, the World Wheelchair Games were held in Christchurch, New Zealand. In 2003, the Games were again held in Christchurch, and combined with a competition for amputee athletes organized by the International Sports Organization for the Disabled.

In 2004, ISMWSF and ISOD merged to create the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS). The first games held under the name IWAS World Wheelchair and Amputee Games were held in 2005 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The second IWAS Games were held in 2007 in Chinese Taipei and the third IWAS games were held in Bangalore, India in November 2009.

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