UK Sports Association reveal new name & brand ‘SportExcel UK – Enabling Excellence in Disability Sport’

SportExcel UK is revealed as the new name and brand for the UK Sports Association. Marking a milestone in the charity’s history and evolution, this is the first significant name change since its inception in 1980.

The work to refresh and refocus the organisations’ priorities and modernise its brand began early 2022, with consultation with some athletes from across the UK and from a variety of sports.  Achieving a dynamic, credible, and modern brand was at the forefront of athlete feedback, whilst being representative of athletes and having a very clear performance and British focus was key.

Paralympian & Athlete Rep, Sabrina Fortune

Paralympic medallist (athletics shot put), Sabrina Fortune said

“I am proud to support SportExcel UK. My words to describe this new brand are artistic, inspiring, and professional.”


Chris Bradley, GB international Para-Dressage Champion

Chris Bradley, 2022 Champion, Virtus Para Dressage said

“I am excited to be part of SportExcel UK because I love my sport and SportExcel UK is helping me to achieve my dreams. The new brand is positive, exciting, and inspiring. Thank you SportExcel UK!”


Adam Thompson, Ambassador & international player

British international table tennis player, and Athlete Ambassador, Adam Thompson said

“I’m excited to be part of the SportExcel UK launch. The work they do is unbelievable for people with learning disabilities, and they also help me get my voice heard.”


Tracey McCillen, Chief Executive SportExcel UK said

“Enable, Excellence and a disability sport identity was an important part of considering how to re-brand as this came through strongly from the athletes involved”

“Athletes wanted the brand to be their voice, showcase their achievements for Britain, but also have a strong and modern feel.  With their help, I think we have achieved this. I’m really excited to see what the future holds for athletes with SportExcel UK as we continue to enable excellence in disability sport”


Genevieve Gordon-Thomson, Chair, SportExcel UK said

‘The purpose of rebranding for any organisation can be expressed simply as a facelift for that organisation, a refresh or whole new identity.  For us, it means much more than that.”

“We have a new logo with our important identity of red, white and blue remaining and the inclusion of an all-new strap line stating with clarity the work of the organisation. Sport Excel UK, through the rebrand process, now demonstrates clearly and with ease, the real purpose of the organisation.”


SportExcel UK is the new name for the UK Sports Association. Sport Excel UK is the only national disability sports and umbrella body in the UK for sport and people with learning disability, down syndrome and autism focusing on elite and high performance sport.

SportExcel UK promotes, supports and facilitates talented sports people in the UK to train, compete and excel in national and international sport. SportExcel UK is the only official Great Britain member of Virtus (formerly Inas), is a member of the British Paralympic Association and is the body responsible for the management of the eligibility and classification system across the UK. SportExcel UK manages GB Teams to Virtus events and provides a voice for athletes with intellectual impairment in sport.

For further information, images and interviews contact the SportExcel UK on 0203 633 6460


Further Information  

Established in 1980 as the UK Sports Association, the newly named SportExcel UK is the national disability sports organisation and umbrella body in the UK for high performance sport and people with learning disability, down syndrome, and autism. SportExcel UK promotes, supports, and facilitates talented sports people with learning disability, down syndrome and autism in the UK to train, compete and excel in national and international sport.  SportExcel UK is a registered charity and the body responsible for eligibility and classification of athletes with intellectual disability from the UK.  SportExcel UK is a member of the British Paralympic Association, recognised by UK Sport and is the official Great Britain member of Virtus. See (Registered charity number and Company registration number remain the same)
Learning Disability is a term used in the UK, with intellectual disability and intellectual impairment being used internationally in sport.  Both refer to the same group of athletes. Learning disability is an “invisible disability”.   It inhibits how a person learns and performs everyday functions that others take for granted. It also reduces communication, understanding, social, and living skills. In elite performance sport learning disability is defined as an IQ of 75 or less; significant limitations in adaptive behaviour and age of onset of the learning disability being in the development years, i.e. 0 -18 years.  This definition adopted by Virtus is from the World Health Organisation (WHO) definition of learning disability (mental handicap) and is in line with other internationally recognised definitions.  Different criteria for Virtus class II2 (Additional Significant Impairment, including Down syndrome) and class II3 (High functioning autism) requires a formal diagnosis and IQ above 75. Criteria for all three classes have been set by Virtus.
Virtus (formerly Inas), the global organisation that advocates and promotes elite sport for athletes with an intellectual impairment was founded in 1986. Virtus is a member of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and is the body responsible for eligibility and the elite international Championships for athletes with intellectual disability, down syndrome and autism (pilot). See www.virtus.sportChampionships are run under recognised International Federation rules.
SportExcel UK and Virtus are different to Special Olympics. SportExcel UK promotes high performance led elite competitive sport and is focused on the performance and winning gold.  SportExcel UK and Virtus are part of the pathway to Global Games and Paralympic Games. Special Olympics are a year-round sports training and competition programme for adults and children with learning disability. Special Olympics competition is set in divisions so that athletes compete with other athletes of similar sports ability in each sport. Special Olympics competitions, domestic and international are non-elite and at a participation level catering to all-ability levels. Special Olympics focus is on participation and improving an athlete’s quality of life.  Higher sports ability athletes may progress to the Paralympic level through SportExcel UK and Virtus, where those opportunities exist.  Others progress in a wider range of sports through SportExcel UK either directly or through a collaboration with NGBs to Virtus Championship programmes including the Virtus Global Games,  Cricket Tri-Nations Series or in some cases, International Federation Championships