The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) have signed a new co-operation agreement that will strengthen Para-sport at the Commonwealth Games and across the Commonwealth.
As a major global multi-sport event that first featured Para-athletes at the Victoria 1994 Games, the Commonwealth Games has continued striving for further inclusion. The latest edition at Gold Coast 2018 set a Games record of 300 Para-athletes across 38 medal events in seven sports. Now, the new partnership between the IPC and the CGF allows both organisations to work closely together to better develop the Games’ Para-sport program.
The Para-sport movement in Australia has been a 40-year journey to integration of Para-sport through the Commonwealth Games Movement in Australia.
Between 1962 and 1974, four Commonwealth Paraplegic Games were held immediately before or after the British Empire and Commonwealth Games, an initiative of Australian surgeon and director of the Spinal Unit of Royal Perth Hospital, Sir George Bedbrook. The agreement between the CGF and the IPC continues this journey.
As part of the agreement, every edition following Birmingham 2022 in England; will only feature the sports whose international federations are recognised by the IPC.
The agreement also enables the two entities to co-operate in strategic areas, including branding, campaigns, classification and development programmes. Further collaboration in non-sporting events, such as advancing the Sustainable Development Goals and advocating the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, will be explored.
In 2007, the IPC and CGF signed their first co-operation agreement during the CGF General Assembly in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The new agreement comes ahead of the 2020 CGF General Assembly which will be held virtually tomorrow (26 November).
IPC President Andrew Parsons said: “We are excited to enter a new partnership with the CGF and help achieve each other’s goals through our common vehicle — sport.
“Change starts with sport, and Para-sport has a tremendous ability to change attitudes towards disability and drive social inclusion. We have witnessed this at the Paralympic Games, the Commonwealth Games, and at Para sport development camps around the world. Our success has increased our desire to do more.
“The Commonwealth Games are a highly regarded event that showcase the transformational power of sport. The IPC looks forward to working closer with the CGF to achieve inclusivity, and support their Movement toward peaceful, sustainable and prosperous communities.”
CGF President Dame Louise Martin said: “On behalf of the entire Commonwealth Sport Movement, we are delighted to be entering into another exciting partnership with the International Paralympic Committee. We are proud that at the Commonwealth Games, Para-sports have been fully integrated as part of our sports programme since Manchester 2002. Birmingham 2022 represents another exciting milestone for us, with the event set to feature the largest Para-sports programme in the history of the Games.
“Working closely with the Paralympic Movement, we look forward to supporting their vision to make a more inclusive world through Para-sport, while partnering to enable Para-athletes to achieve sporting excellence.”
While Victoria 1994 was the first Games to feature Para-athletes, Manchester 2002 saw Para-athletes as full members of their national teams with their results included in the medal count. The first Para-sports contested there were athletics, lawn bowls, table tennis, swimming and weightlifting.
The most recent edition at Gold Coast 2018 saw an increase of 45 per cent more athletes and 73 per cent more medals compared to the Glasgow in 2014.
Next up, Birmingham 2022 will set a new record with eight Para-sports and is expected to surpass Gold Coast 2018 in terms of number of athletes.