Jun 30, 2021

Looking ahead to the Paralympic Games

2021 Virtus World Athletics Championships, Poland
2021 Virtus World Athletics Championships, Poland

2020 was the year that international sport stopped. Major events such as the European Football Championships, the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games and of course major Virtus championships all fell victim to the coronavirus pandemic and the associated travel restrictions. 

We all hoped 2021 would see a return to normality and we were delighted that the Virtus World Athletics Championships were able to go ahead as planned recently with more than 100 athletes representing more than 10 nations. However we have been less lucky in other sports, with a number of cancellations and postponements. 

Virtus continues to do whatever it can to support member organisations around the world during this difficult period and the 500,000 athletes with an intellectual impairment we work with globally. 

However despite this ongoing uncertainty, we are just a matter of weeks away from the Tokyo Paralympic Games where athletes with an intellectual impairment will go for gold in athletics (T/F20), swimming (S14) and table tennis (class 11). For many, the Games are the pinnacle event in para-sport. They will attract huge television audiences around the world, create new sporting champions and inpsire a new generation of people with an impairment to take up sport. The Games are about much more than sports competition - they have the power to change the world. 

Virtus will be using this opportunity to raise the profile of athletes with an intellectual impairment, amongst whom research continues to show that particpation rates in sport are much lower than in other groups. Athletes continue to face additional hurdles and barriers in their pursuit of their sporting ambitions, and this is a group who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. 

You can help us by following our website, facebook and twitter accounts during the Games. Please retweet stories, post comments and share as much as posisble to give the worlds best athletes the platform and recognition they deserve.  

Enjoy the Games and thankyou for your continued support to Virtus and sport for athletes with an intellectual impairment. 

Mar 3, 2021

Return to competition

Dear Virtus Supporters

In 2021 some 12 months since the start of the COVID pandemic, we continue to live in very challenging times for our world.

For our athletes the challenges of COVID remain very real and present – our athletes continue to inspire us and demonstrate their commitment to sport and adaptability to an ever-changing world. During such uncertain times they have stayed healthy, remained focussed and continued to train (in a Covid-safe way). They continue to keep their sport dreams and ambitions for representative competition as their core focus. That is what elite athletes do!

This month we published our latest Strategic Plan 2021-2024. This document guides our actions and activities to achieve our organisational objectives. You can always visit our website at virtus.sport for the latest news. Of course, you can also connect with us on our social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

We are looking forward to some International sport competition returning in 2021 within the Covid-safe guidelines developed by Virtus and other health regulations set by host nations. As always, the health and safety of our athletes is and will always be our primary focus. With your donations more athletes will have greater access to competitions at an International sport events.

We remain confident that our Virtus athletes will also have the opportunity of representing their nations in Tokyo this year for the 2020 Paralympic Games. We look forward to sharing their successes.  

Looking even further ahead, we are pleased to let our supporters know that 2022 will see a very large program of Regional multi-sport events as follows:

 

  • Virtus European Games in June 2022 in Krakow, Poland.
  • Virtus Americas Regional Games in September 2022 in Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Virtus Oceania – Asia Regional Games in November 2022 in Brisbane, Australia

 

Each of these events will be a multi-sport event providing opportunities for athletes in our Virtus Regions to represent their nations and compete against the best athletes.

We hope you will continue to work with us in the months ahead as we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic. Whether this is through a donation, re-posting our stories and updates on social media, or through raising awareness of sport for athletes with an intellectual impairment in your community, I want to say Thank You on behalf of the entire Virtus family.

 

Nov 2, 2020

Responding to the global pandemic

Dear Supporters

Just a year ago, I wrote to you following the success of the 2019 Global Games in Brisbane - where nearly 1000 athletes took part in our biggest event ever - and where we had launched our new global brand: Virtus. Motivated and moved by the incredible performances of the very best athletes with an intellectual impairment from around the world, we began 2020 with ever-higher expectations and a committment to do more. 

You can relive the highlights here

Of course, 2020 has been a very different year to the one we had anticipated. Sadly, the various travel and social distancing rules have seen the suspension of large parts of professional and amateur sport and the cancellation of championship events. The Olympic and Paralympic Games were postponed to 2021. And athletes across the world were unable to train in their usual venues - or even leave their house to exercise in some cases. 

Virtus has made great efforts to adjust to the new circumstances in which we operate. We have launched new virtual competitions and challenges to stay connected to our athletes and maintain their competitive spirit, we have introduced monthly webinars to stay connected to our member organisations to provide support and advice, and we have increased our virtual meetings to stay connected to our many partner organisations and supporters.   

Above all, we have remained committed to delivering our 2021 event programme as fully as possible and laying the foundations for events in 2022 and 2023 - including the next Global Games which we recently anounced will take place in Vichy, France. Behind the scenes we have been putting the finishing touches to our new Strategic Plan - due for launch very soon - that sets our priorities and ambitions in the years ahead. 

But, there remains much that is uncertain both for Virtus and for our member organisations around the world. Nearly 80% of members recently reported that they expect funding for sport for athletes with an intellectual impairment to decrease due to the pandemic, travel restrictions in some parts of the world are set to continue for many months more, and there is a very real and growing concern that athletes who are already amongst the most marginalised in sport could face additional barriers and hurdles which we have all worked tirelessly to overcome. 

Your support to Virtus in recent years has been particularly appreciated and we hope that you will continue to work with us in the months ahead as we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic. Whether this is through a donation, re-posting our stories and updates on social media, or through raising awareness of sport for athletes with an intellectual impairment in your area I want to say thankyou on behalf of the entire Virtus family.

2020 may not have been the year we expected, but remain absolutely committed to achieving the ambitions we set ourselves this time last year, and with your help I have no doubt we will be successful. 

Wherever you are and whatever the circumstances created by the pandemic, I would like to send my very best wishes to all our supporters across the world. 

 
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