Never Give In !
2012 Lloyds TSB Cardiff Half Marathon.
The World Wars significantly influenced society’s view and treatment of individuals with disabilities. Before the wars, individuals with disabilities were considered as burdens on society. As many veterans of war returned home with physical impairments and psychological needs, new programs had to be put in place to help make the transition back into society, as traditional methods were not able to accommodate.
The British government is credited with being the first to recognize these needs by opening the Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury, England, in 1944. Sir Ludwig Guttmann, director of this center, introduced competitive sports as an integral part of the rehabilitation of disabled veterans.
With Guttmann’s guidance, the first Stoke Mandeville Games for the Paralysed were held in 1948. In the late 1940s, sports for rehabilitation spread throughout Europe and throughout the United States. During this time competitions and sporting events for individuals in wheelchairs emerged throughout Europe.
In 1952 the first international competition for athletes in wheelchairs was organized between the British and the Netherlands. A total of 130 athletes with spinal cord injuries competed in six sports. To honor the social and human value derived from the wheelchair sport movement, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognized Guttmann’s work in 1956 and awarded the Stoke Mandeville Games the Sir Thomas Fearnley Cup for meritorious achievement in service to the Olympic movement.
Since the beginning of the games in Stoke Mandeville wheelchair sports has expanded with the addition of many sports. Beginning with wheelchair archery, lawn bowls, table tennis, shot put, javelin, and club throwing were added to the growing list. In the 1960s wheelchair basketball, fencing, snooker and weightlifting were also introduced.
In 1960 the International Stoke Mandeville Wheelchair Sports Federation (ISMWSF) was formed to allow all international competitions for individuals with spinal cord injuries. Although originally sanctioned for those with spinal cord injuries, these games were expanded in 1976 at the Olympiad for the Physically Disabled in Toronto, Canada, to include other physical and visual impairments and would evolve and eventually be referred to as the Paralympics.
In the 1960s international sports competitions were expanded to include other disability groups who were not eligible for the World Games. In addition the International Sports Organisation for the Disabled (ISOD) was officially formed in Paris in 1964, to provide international sports opportunities for the blind, amputees and persons with other loco motor disabilities.