9 Oct 2013

Spaniard fined for Paras scandal

5:18 am on 9 October 2013

A Spanish court has fined a former sports boss $9000 for fielding athletes with no disabilities at the 2000 Paralympics in Sydney.

The Madrid court found the former head of the Spanish Federation for Mentally Handicapped Sports, Fernando Vicente, guilty of fraud and also ordered him to return $230,000 in government subsidies that the federation received for the athletes without disabilities.

The scandal broke in November 2000 when Carlos Ribagorda, a member of Spain's gold medal-winning intellectually handicapped basketball team in Sydney, claimed he and other athletes in a range of sports were not mentally deficient.

Ribagorda said the only test he had been asked to complete at his first training session was six press-ups, after which his blood pressure was taken. He claimed there were at least 15 athletes at the Sydney Games who had no type of physical or mental handicap.

Spain had their most successful Paralympics in Sydney, winning 107 medals to finish third on the medal table.