International Paralympic Committee (IPC) reinstates S-14 category into Paralympic Games

OTTAWA – The national governing body for competitive swimming, Swimming Canada, was please with the IPC’s decision to reinstate athletes with an intellectual disability into the Paralympic program. The decision was announced today following the IPC general assembly in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.

Athletes with intellectual disabilities where excluded from the Paralympics after the Sydney games, but following today’s announcement, will return to the playing field in London 2012.

“We are pleased with this decision,” said Pierre Lafontaine, CEO and National Coach for Swimming Canada. “Many of our swimmers with intellectual disabilities aspire to high performance goals. Our role is to provide an infrastructure for them to keep flourishing and be competitive on the international Paralympic arena.”

“In order for us to provide a strong infrastructure, we need great support from our partners such as the municipalities and swim clubs, to ensure that pool and program access is available,” added Lafontaine.

According to Craig McCord, National Coach for Para-swimming, bringing the intellectual disability (s-14) category back into the Paralympic games will bring another exciting facet to the sport of swimming. “I have seen high quality (s-14 category) swimming around the globe.”

“Many of the top para-swimming countries such as Canada, Australia, Great Britain and the European nations had continued to include the s-14 category as part of their domestic programs following the exclusion in 2000. What’s great is that we will now get to race in this category at the Para Pan Ams, the IPC Words and the Paralympics,” added McCord.

While Canada’s Para-swimming team is set to compete against the world in a few weeks at the 2009 IPC World short course Championships in Rio, swimmers with an intellectual disability will not be in attendance.

According to the IPC, full criteria for intellectually disabled athletes will be available early next year, while their inclusion will not reduce the number of athletes from other classes in events at the London Games.

Classification for the s14 category currently in place for Canada will remain the same.
Swimming is the only sport that combines the conditions of limb loss, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury and other disabilities such as Dwarfism or major joint restriction conditions, as well as intellectual disabilities across its classes. Classes 1-10 – are allocated to swimmers with a physical disability, classes 11-13 – are allocated to swimmers with a visual disability and class 14 – is allocated to swimmers with an intellectual disability.

For more information on classification for swimming for people with a disability:

About Swimming Canada

Swimming Canada serves as the national governing body of competitive swimming. Swimming Canada’s vision of Swimming to Win; Winning for Life! reflects the lifelong attributes of the sport. The federation comprises 75,000 members and 400 swim clubs across the country. Canadians are global leaders in high performance swimming and development for both able-bodied swimmers and swimmers with a disability. Swimming is recognized as one of the most celebrated and successful Canadian summer Olympic sports.

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For more information:

Martin Richard
Communications Director
Swimming Canada
Cel. 613.725.4339