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Intellectual Disabilities: Back In The Fold

Duration:
18 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 20 August 2012

Athletes with intellectual disabilities have been banished from the Paralympics for the past 12 years following cheating by the Spanish.

At the Sydney Games in 2000, Spain fielded a basketball team who pretended to have learning disabilities and then won the gold medal.

When the scandal was uncovered, all athletes with genuine learning disabilities were excluded from future Paralympic Games while the rules were tightened.

For the London Paralympics this summer, the exclusion order has finally been lifted and Claudia Hammond reports from Sweden as their elite Paralympians complete last-minute training schedules before flying to London, to compete in athletics, swimming and table tennis.

She hears about the complex and rigorous new classification system designed to satisfy concerns that athletes competing do have genuine intellectual disabilities and hears about the anger of world-class sportspeople who were denied access to Olympic events.

(Image: Jeffrey Ige, Swedish shot putter. Image by Claudia Hammond)

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