There is a wide and varied programme of events across a number of sports in the UK, throughout Europe and the rest of the world that provide opportunities for athletes with intellectual disability to compete.
The number of opportunities and the sports available are different dependant on which country — ie England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland that the athlete lives in.
Event hosts include, but are not limited to, National Governing Bodies of Sport, Home Country Disability Sports Organisations, as well as regional and local hosts.
Internationally opportunities exist through Virtus, the global organisation that advocates and promotes elite sport for athletes with intellectual impairment, its European region and through International Paralympic Committee (IPC) events.
This sports pathway is about “performance led” competitive sport. Until 2017, there was just one classification group for athletes with intellectual disability in events and athletes are expected to be motivated to train, excel and achieve the very highest standards possible. In 2017 Inas introduced two new trial classes – II2 Athletes with additional impairments (includes Down syndrome) and II3 Athletes with high functioning autism. Both trial classes are exclusive to Virtus events and are not on the para programme.
The ultimate achievement is representing Great Britain at the Inas Global Games or the IPC Paralympic Games, but only those athletes that reach the highest performance standards and prove themselves to be the very best performance athletes that Great Britain can offer will be considered for selection to these events.