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Paralympic heritage

Wheelchair Archers 1953
Wheelchair Archers 1953

The UK has a strong link to the Paralympic Games. In 1948, Dr Ludwig Guttmann organised a wheelchair archery competition at Stoke Mandeville hospital for World War II soldiers with spinal cord injuries.

The competition took place between sports clubs and other hospitals on the same day as the Opening Ceremony of the London 1948 Olympic Games.

Four years later, as more sports were added, athletes from Holland joined in and the international Paralympic Movement was born. Read more about Paralympic Games History on the International Paralympic Committee Website.

1984 Paralympic Games

The 1984 Paralympic Games were held in both Europe and North America. Amputee cerebral palsy, visually impaired and les autres athletes all competed in New York, USA, while athletes with spinal cord disabilities competed in Stoke Mandeville, England.

The Games in Stoke Mandeville were held from 22 July to 1 August and organised by the British Paraplegic Sports Society.

The Opening Ceremony was presided by HRH Prince Charles, who officially opened the Games. More than 1,100 athletes from 41 countries competed in 10 events.

Pioneering role

The UK has kept up its pioneering role in sport for athletes with disabilities and has staged many international events, including the World Swimming Championships and World Equestrian Championships (1994), as well as the World Athletics Championships (1998).

At the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, events for athletes with disabilities ran alongside the other competitions at the main venues.

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