22 Nov 2009

Paralympics welcome back athletes with intellectual disabilities

6:16 am on 22 November 2009

Athletes with intellectual disabilities can once again take part in the Paralympics after an International Paralympic Committee vote.

They had been banned since it was found that most of Spain's intellectual disability basketball team at the 2000 Sydney Paralympics were not disabled.

As a result, "sports intelligence" tests will form part of the new, more rigorous classification process.

Intellectual disability athletes were barred from competing at both the Athens Games in 2004 and Beijing in 2008 following the scandal surrounding the Spanish team, but moves to welcome them back to the Paralympic fold have been in progress for some time.

Spain beat Russia in the final to claim gold, but their players subsequently had to hand back their medals after an inquiry found that 10 of the 12-strong squad suffered no handicap.