Arnhem Netherlands, 1980

Legacy of the Games

For the first time four major disability groups competed in their own events – amputee, wheelchair, cerebral palsy and visually impaired athletes all took part in the Games. The four international sports federations were represented simultaneously for the first time and were able to consolidate their sports programmes.

The Games saw the creation of the International Coordinating Committee (ICC), in which each of the four federations were represented. This paved the way for the creation of the International Paralympic Committee towards the end of the 1980s.

Thirteen sporting events were held during the Games and sitting volleyball made its debut along with goalball, a sport for the visually impaired.

The Netherlands made the decision to ban South African athletes from the Paralympic Games on account of the country’s apartheid policies. This corrected the anomaly which had been in place since 1960, whereby South Africa was banned from the Olympic Games but allowed to compete in the Paralympics. After 1980, South Africa remained banned from both the Olympic and Paralympic Games until 1992.