Virtus WIIS

Virtus WIIS (World Intellectual Impairment Sport)

Vision: Athletes With An Intellectual Impairment Across The World Have The Opportunity To Achieve Excellence In Sport And High-Level Competition

Virtus is inspired by the belief that an intellectual impairment, autism or Down syndrome should not be a barrier to competing at the highest levels.

Virtus WIIS is a member of the International Paralympic Committee. Virtus is the only organisation representing Para-athletes with intellectual disabilities in the IPC.

Virtus World Intellectual Impairment Sport helps more than 300,000 of the world’s best athletes compete in a variety of winter and summer sports. These include tennis, basketball, cycling, cricket, and alpine skiing.

World Intellectual Impairment Sport organises competitions such as world and regional Championships. Virtus also manages eligibility and classification, working with other International Federations. Three of the sports Virtus programme – swimming, athletics and table tennis – feature at the Paralympic Games.


Virtus promotes inclusion of people with intellectual impairments in society.

Every four years Virtus host the World Intellectual Impairment Sport Global Games – the world’s largest elite sports event for athletes with an intellectual impairment.

Virtus is registered as a charity, based in Great Britain. Virtus is supported by a huge volunteer workforce around the world.

Virtus activities in promoting high performance sport for athletes with an intellectual impairment are only possible with the help of fundraising and contributions from member nations.

On 19th October 2019, at the closing ceremony of the 5th Global Games, INAS announced a substantial rebranding and will henceforth be known as Virtus: World Intellectual Impairment Sport. Click here to know about the rebranding.

Brief History

The International Association of Sport for People with Mental Handicap was established in 1986 by professionals in the Netherlands who were involved in sport and wanted to promote the participation of athletes with “mental handicap”. Known as INAS-FMH, the organisation became a member of the ICC – the International Coordinating Committee – which in 1992 became the International Paralympic Committee.

In September 1991 ahead of the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games, the first Paralympic Games for ‘Persons with mental handicap’ were held in Madrid, at which 70 nations competed. In 1996, a small programme for athletes with an intellectual disability was included in the Paralympic Games in Atlanta before a larger programme including athletics, swimming and basketball was included in Sydney 2000.

Following a period of absence from the Paralympic programme, events for athletes with an intellectual impairment were re-instated by the IPC General Assembly in November 2009. Around 120 athletes went on to compete in athletics, swimming and table tennis at London 2012.