IPC Calls For Full Investigation

Bonn, Germany - The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) recognizes with great concern the allegations made by Mr. Carlos Ribagorda, a member of the Spanish Basketball team for athletes with an Intellectual Disability at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games. He alleges that several athletes, including himself, participated in Paralympic events for athletes with an intellectual disability, even though they are not disabled and, therefore, did not meet the eligibility criteria.

It is the IPC’s firm stand that this issue must be fully investigated immediately. In consequence, it has asked its member in Spain, the Spanish National Paralympic Committee, to thoroughly examine the incident. The IPC also supports the Spanish Government’s intention to completely clarify the situation. It needs to be verified, as to whether the athletes concerned competed at the Sydney Paralympic Games in accordance with the rules, which had been established for participation at Paralympic Games.

In every Paralympic sport, criteria are established to ensure that athletes have a minimum disability. Only athletes, whose IQ was tested to be approximately 70 to 75 or below, who have limitations in two or more adaptive skills areas such as communication, self-care, home-living or functional academics, and who acquired their condition before the age of 18, are eligible to compete in Paralympic events for athletes with an intellectual disability.

Once the investigations have been completed, the IPC will take every action necessary to ensure that all athletes, who participate in Paralympic Games, meet the minimum disability criteria. IPC-President Dr. Robert Steadward said that the IPC will do everything in its power to guarantee fairness in competition and to prevent any kind of cheating. In addition, the International Paralympic Committee affirms that it will investigate any substantiated claims of athletes competing at Paralympic Games, who are not eligible to do so.

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