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Page last updated at 07:30 GMT, Saturday, 13 September 2008 08:30 UK

Paralympics set to alter entry policy

The Athens Paralympics opening ceremony
Athletes with learning disabilities will return to the Games in London

Athletes with intellectual disabilities could be able to compete at the 2012 Games, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced.

The decision still needs to be ratified at an IPC assembly in November 2009.

The IPC suspended intellectually disabled categories after Sydney 2000 when 10 members of Spain's basketball team did not have any disabilities.

The IPC said it will reinstate the class but will closely monitor which athletes qualify for events.

The IPC highlighted three main areas of concern; eligibility, sport specificity and on site protests and appeals.

"Significant progress is being made in all three areas and it is anticipated that systems, processes and procedures will be available for pilot testing during the early part of 2009," the IPC and the International Sports Federation for Persons with an Intellectual Disability said in a joint statement.

"These systems are being developed using a scientific approach that is fully compliant with the new IPC Classification Code and engages actively with the relevant sports."

Spain's wheelchair basketball team won gold in Sydney in 2000, but were ordered to return their medals when only two of the squad of 12 were discovered to be mentally handicapped with IQs under the qualifying level of 75.

The IPC suspended athletes with an intellectual disability in January 2001 in the aftermath of the scandal.

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see also
Paralympic row remains unresolved
27 Jun 06 |  Disability Sport
IPC to continue eligibility talks
25 Nov 04 |  Disability Sport
Spain ordered to return golds
14 Dec 00 |  Other Sports

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