IWAS WORLD GAMES: Grown from the same roots as the Paralympic Games
Updated: Jun 7, 2019
The Paralympic movement and Paralympic Games all started with the Stoke Mandeville Games, these were organized and founded by the International Stoke Mandeville Games Federation (ISMGF). Nowadays this federation is called the International Wheelchair & Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS). IWAS organizes their own event: the IWAS World Games.
The 2019 edition of this event will be held in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, from 10 to 16 February. Some athletes might be familiar with the venues, since the 2011 World Games were held in Sharjah as well.
Paralympic champion Beatrice Vio in a fencing match (source: paralympic.org)
What are the IWAS World Games?
The IWAS World Games are a multisport event, held every other year on odd years, for sportsmen and women with a physical impairment worldwide. The Games aim to provide a pathway for athletes to follow towards a successful career in their chosen sport in the Paralympic movement. There are three age categories: Under 23, Open and Master (40+). The sports that are displayed are: Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Indoor Rowing, Swimming, Shooting, Table Tennis and Wheelchair Fencing.
How did they begin?
As stated in the introduction the IWAS World Games started all with the Stoke Mandeville Games these were held from 1948 to 1995. After several name changes, this event eventually became the IWAS World Games.
World Champion Amy Truesdale posing with her medal (source: paralympic.org)
Which athletes should you watch out for?
Beatrice Vio, Italy
Rio 2016 Paralympic champion Beatrice Vio is a real star in wheelchair fencing. Besides her Paralympic title, she is also both European and world champion, making her the one to beat. Apart from the sport Beatrice also happens to be a social media sensation with over 300,000 followers on Instagram.
Amy Truesdale, Great Britain
Para Taekwondo will be new to the 2020 Paralympic Games, which makes the IWAS World Games event very interesting. Amy Truesdale is really someone to watch out for; she has won the European title three times in a row and took the gold at the 2017 IWAS World Games. The British is the number one ranked athlete in her class and is also active in able bodied competitions.
Ai Xinliang, China
China’s Ai Xinliang has proven multiple times that he is one to watch out for. The archer is ranked 20th in the world but won the teams event at the 2016 Paralympic Games and became the 2017 individual world champion. The 21 year old won in the same discipline at the IWAS World Games in the same year. Xinliang also won two golds and one silver at the 2015 Asian Championships.
Paralympian Ai Xinliang aiming his bow (source: worldarchery.org)
Where can you find out more about the IWAS World Games?
IWAS World Games website: www.iwasf.com/iwasf/index.cfm/games/iwas-world-games11/
IWAS World Games on Instagram: www.instagram.com/iwasf / @iwasf
IWAS World Games on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IWASWorldGames/
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