World Abilitysport: A new era for people with physical disabilities
People with physical disabilities will soon have a new and exciting organisation to look towards to access grassroots, recreational and high-performance sports: World Abilitysport.
The new body is being established after the merger of the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) and Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association (CPISRA), two founding members of the Paralympic Movement, became official at the end of 2022.
The name and look of World Abilitysport – which will be rolled-out from 6 April – reflects the fact that the new organisation will work to ensure that everyone with a physical impairment that wants to do sport either for leisure or to compete at the highest levels can do so.
Placing ‘ability’ at the heart of the new brand shows the focus will be on what people can achieve when they have the opportunity to play sports, a value that both IWAS and CPISRA have been working to promote for more than 70 years.
Along with the name, a fresh logo and brand look has been designed by creative agency Landor & Fitch to reflect the dynamism, diversity and power of the World Abilitysport community.
Rudi Van Den Abbeele, World Abilitysport President, said: “It is a great pleasure and honour to present World Abilitysport to our stakeholders, partners and followers as we prepare to move into an exciting new era.
“The merge of IWAS and CPISRA has been a long-time in the making but we are so excited to finally bring the two constituencies together to create one movement for all athletes and people with physical impairments.
“The striking new brand encompasses all our work, from recreation and sports camps for teenagers and helping emerging Para sports and disciplines to develop, all the way through to the world and youth Games where both new and experienced athletes can compete on the world stage. The upcoming World Abilitysport Games in Thailand in December will be the first to be held under the new banner, as well as teen and family recreation camps taking place from this month.
“I would like to thank Landor & Fitch for giving their time and expertise to work with us on this exciting project, and for the International Paralympic Committee and BP for introducing us to them. This endeavour reflects the true strength and togetherness of the Para sport community as we move into our collective future, and recognises the important role organisations like ours have to play in it.”
After years of preparations, on 28 November 2022 the IWAS General Assembly, attended by 36 IWAS Members in person and by proxy, voted unanimously to accept the CPISRA Members and Board into IWAS, which officially saw the two organisations join as one.
IPC President Andrew Parsons said: “On behalf of the International Paralympic Committee I want to congratulate all those who have worked so hard to establish World Abilitysport. Both IWAS and CPISRA have a proud history in the Paralympic Movement, and we wouldn’t be where we were today without their perseverance, diligence, and energy over the last seven decades.
“Now an important new chapter begins with World Abilitysport, an organisation that will not only be a vital entry point for engaging people with physical disabilities in grassroots activities, but one which will be an important ally of the IPC in providing pathways for some of those people to become elite Paralympic athletes. We look forward to partnering with World Abilitysport in using sport as a tool for driving social inclusion.”
Following the General Assembly, on 30 January, the combined membership signed off the new name of World Abilitysport. This gave the green light to introduce the new brand which will be introduced from tomorrow. Members have been provided with materials under embargo.
World Abilitysport will remain as the global governing body for wheelchair fencing and powerchair hockey and will continue to support the development of race running (also known as frame running), wheelchair slalom and frame football. Both wheelchair fencing and powerchair will remain as ‘IWAS’ branded sports for the time being.
Visit worldabilitysport.org for more information about the future of sport for people with physical impairments, including the upcoming 2023 World Abilitysport Games, the 2023 International Conference on Sport, Exercise and Recreation and recreation camps.