The EPC is a European non-profit-making organisation which operates under Austrian law due to its registration in Vienna. EPC is supported by the European Union and the Austrian Government.


European Paralympic Committee

The EPC was founded as the IPC European Committee in November 1991, and adopted its current name in 1999.In 2008 the permanent Office and Headquarters was established in Vienna, Austria. The EPC currently has fifty-six members and is composed of fortynine National Paralympic Committees and the European branches of six disability-specific International Organisations of Sports for the Disabled.

European Paralympic Committee

The EPC is an association for promotion of sports for athletes with disability and extends its area of function throughout the whole world. The vision is to be the pioneer region in the Paralympic Movement in relation to the development and promotion of sports for European Athletes with a disability and EPC should be known as the pioneer region where the European Athletes with a disability and the Sports are the main focus and drive in everything that is done in EPC.

European Paralympic Committee

A General Assembly, held every two years, is the supreme governing body of EPC. All members are entitled to send delegates to the assembly. The EPC Executive Board (formerly known as the Executive Committee) is elected every four years by the members at the General Assembly. The committee is made up of the President, the Vice-President, the Treasurer, the Athletes’ Representative and five Members-at-large. Besides the Executive Board the daily duties is carried out by a Manager, acting like a Secretary General situated in Vienna.

European Paralympic Committee

The EPC aims are to provide sports programs and initiatives for sports for persons with a disability for example by holding a Para European Youth Games each second year and to increase the participation rates in sport in the less Economically Affluent zones of Europe. The strategy is also to increase participation rates of women in sport throughout Europe.

European Paralympic Committee

The purpose of the EPC is to promote and defend the collective interest of European athletes with disabilities as represented by their National Paralympic Committee (NPC) or equivalent national body, International Organisation of Sports for the Disabled or International Paralympic Sport Federation in membership of EPC, without discrimination on the grounds of religion, economics, disability, gender, language or ethnic origin.

European Paralympic Committee

EPC mission is to promote and contribute to the development of Sport opportunities and competitions for European Athletes with a disability as part of the world Paralympic Movement and to ensure the growth and strength of the Paralympic Movement through the development of the European National Paralympic Committees and to support the activities of all EPC members.

European Paralympic Committee

The objective of classification is to unite athletes of one sport in groups according to their functional abilities in order to arrive at comparable performances and to assure fair and exciting competitions. Similar to Judo, Boxing or Powerlifting in Olympic competitions, where athletes compete in different classes according to their weight, paralympic athletes are united in classes according to their specific disabilities and their grade of functional ability. Classification is carried out by trained and certified classifiers. Allocation to a sport class is the result of many different processes: physical and technical tests, as well as examination and observation both in and out of competition. Allocation to a sport class is never final, changes can occur several times during an athlete’s career.

European Paralympic Committee


European Paralympic Committee


ARCHERY: Archery is a sport for all disabled people, standing or in a wheelchair, as well as visually impaired. ATHLETICS: Every disability group is able to compete in Athletics, and athletes are classified both by their physical and mental ability and whether they are a track or field athlete and given the following categorisation:
11-13: Visually impaired track and field athletes
20: Intellectually disabled track and field athletes
31-38: Cerebral palsy track and field athletes
T 51-56: Wheelchair track athletes
F 51-58: Wheelchair field athletes
Some compete in wheelchairs, others with prostheses, and visually impaired athletes compete with the guidance of a sighted companion. Athletes compete according to their functional classifications in each event. Athletics includes: 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1,500m, 5,000m, 10,000m, 4x100m, 4x400m running, Discus, Shot Put, Javelin, Triple Jump, Long Jump, High Jump, Pentathlon and Marathon. Events are open to male and female athletes in all disability groups. The governing body is the IPC through the International Paralympic Athletics Committee.


Boccia is a target sport played by individuals, pairs or teams. It requires a high degree of muscle control, accuracy, concentration and tactical awareness. The goal is to land six of your balls closer to the white target ball than the opponent’s balls. Boccia is one of the fastest growing International and Paralympic Sports. Over 50 countries have local and/or national competitive programs. The sport is governed by the Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association (CPISRA).


Bowls is an IPC Championship sport widely practiced in 15 countries. Although it is no longer included in the Paralympic Games programme, regular multi-disability World Championships are conducted. Bowls is practiced by both male and female athletes with a physical disability. The game is played on a level, grassed or synthetic surface called a green between two competitors or teams consisting of two, three or four players. The aim is to roll one’s bowl as close as possible to a white ball called a jack. Bowls is governed by International Bowls for the Disabled.


Cycling for people with disabilities is governed by the International Cycling Federation (UCI). The sport was first developed by IBSA for blind and partially sighted cyclists who competed – and continue to compete – using tandem bicycles and with the assistance of a guide. Cycling was introduced as a Paralympic Sport in Seoul in 1988 and is now practiced in more than 40 countries. Today, in addition to athletes with a visual impairment, cyclists with cerebral palsy, amputations or other physical disabilities can participate in classes depending on their degree of function and the skills required for cycling. Depending on their classification, athletes use a bicycle, tricycle, tandem or hand cycle. The competition programme includes track and road events for individuals and teams with Sprints, Individual Pursuits, 1,000m Time Trial, Road Races and Road Time Trials. Events are for both men and women, with the cyclists grouped together according to their functional ability or visual impairment. Paralympic cycling is not an adapted sport and the technical regulations of the International Cycling Union (UCI) are used at all cycling competitions. There are specific IPC cycling rules that allow for adaptations to cycles and equipment as necessary, for reasons of safety.


Used for many years in rehabilitation and recreation programmes for people with disabilities, Equestrian as a sport was included in the programme of the Paralympic Games for the first time in Atlanta in 1996. It is a multi-disability sport open to athletes with a physical disability or visual impairment. Events are mixed and grouped according to their functional profiles. Riders compete in two dressage events; a Championship Test of set movements and a Freestyle Test to music. There is also a Team Test for three to four riders per team. Competitors are judged on their display of horsemanship skills as they ride their horse using a series of commands for walk, trot and canter. Riders may use permitted assistive devices such as dressage crops, a connecting rein bar, rubber bands or other aids. Since 2006, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) is the governing body for the sport.


Football 5-a-side is played by totally blind players on a pitch measuring 20 m by 40 m. It is also known as futsal for the blind or blind futsal. Football 5-a-side is based on the FIFA Futsal rulebook, with some modifications to make it possible for blind footballers to play: Ball: the ball has ball-bearings inside to make a noise and let players know where it is; Kickboards: boards are placed along the sidelines to prevent the ball from going out and ensure a fast-moving game with fewer interruptions; Guides: each team has three guides to help orientate players. Football 5-a-side is governed by the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA).


Football 7-a-side is a team sport for athletes with cerebral palsy. Modifications to international FIFA soccer rules make Football 7-a-side an exciting sport. (Some of the changes include a smaller pitch and goal posts, no off-side rule and players can roll the ball into play in place of a throw-in. (On the field, teams are made up of seven ambulant cerebral palsy athletes ranging from classes 5 to 8. The complete rules of Football 7-a-side are detailed in the CPISRA Classification and Sports Rules Manual. The sport is governed by the Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association (CPISRA).


Goalball is a sport specially designed for people with a visual impairment. Goalball has been on the Paralympic programme since the games in Toronto in 1976. The game is played by two teams of three players with a maximum of three substitutes on each team. Blind and partially sighted players are able to play together as all players must wear opaque goggles during the match. The game is played on the floor of a gymnasium within a rectangular court which is divided into two halves by a centre line. Goals are erected at either end. It is played with a bell ball and the aim of the game is for each team to roll the ball across the opponent’s goal line while the other team attempts to defend its goal. Goalball is widely-practised in all parts of the world. The sport is governed by the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA).


Judo is a Paralympic sport for athletes with a visual impairment. Judo is practised by blind and partially sighted athletes. Deafblind judokas are also among the top athletes. As judo is a contact sport, athletes from each of the three sight categories (B1, B2 and B3) are able to compete against each other in one single competition. At the Paralympic Games, men compete in seven body weight categories (-60kg, -66kg, -73kg, -81kg, -90kg, -100kg and +100kg), while women compete in six categories (-48kg, -52kg, -57kg, -63kg, -70kg and +70kg). Judo is governed by the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA).


Athletes eligible for competition are lower limb amputee classes A1 to A4, les autres classes with minimum handicap, cerebral palsy classes and spinal cord injury classes. Lifters must have the ability to fully extend the arms with no more than a 20-degree loss of full extension on either elbow to make an approved lift according to the rules. Men compete in the 48kg, 52kg, 56kg, 60kg, 67.5kg, 75kg, 82.5kg, 90kg, 100kg and +100kg divisions. Women compete in the 40kg, 44kg, 48kg, 52kg, 56kg, 60kg, 67.5kg, 75kg, 82.5kg and +82.5kg divisions. In Powerlifting, male and female athletes must assume a position with head, trunk (including buttocks), legs and both heels extended on a specially designed bench and maintain this position during the complete lift. The bar is placed horizontally on two supports, adjusted on the left and right of the bench. When removing the bar from the racks the lifter shall wait with locked elbows for the Chief Referee’s signal “start”, then the lifter must lower the bar to the chest, hold it motionless (visible) on the chest and then press it upwards, with an even extension of the arms, to arm’s length with locked elbows. When held motionless in this position the audible signal “rack” shall be given. An immediate decision shall be given by the three nominated international referees through a system of white and red lights. Each athlete has three attempts. Between the first and second attempt, and between the second and third attempt, there must be a minimum increase of 2.5kg. Powerlifting is governed by the IPC through the IPC Powerlifting Technical Committee.


Rowing is making its debut at the 2008 games in Beijing. Adaptive Rowing is rowing or sculling for athletes with a disability who meet the criteria as set out in the Adaptive Rowing classification regulations. Adaptive implies that the equipment is adapted to the user to practice the sport, rather than the sport being “adapted” to the user. The International Rowing Federation (FISA) is the sole world governing body for rowing. Adaptive rowing is open to male and female athletes and is divided into four boat classes which are included in FISA’s World Championship programme: LTA4+, TA2x, AW1x and AM1x.The LTA4+ and TA2x are mixed gender boats. Races are held over 1,000m for all four events. The hull of the adaptive rowing boat is identical to able-bodied boats, while adaptive rowing boats are equipped with special seats which vary according to the disability of the rower.


Sailing is a relatively recent sport at the Paralympic Games; the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games introduced Sailing as a demonstration sport, leading to its acceptance as a full medal sport at the Sydney 2000 Paralympics. The sport is open to athletes with an amputation, cerebral palsy, blindness/partial sight, spinal injuries and les autres. The sailing classification system is based on four factors – stability, hand function, mobility and vision. Athletes compete in three events, which are non-gender specified: the Single-Person and Three-Person Keelboats are open to most disability groups, while the Two-Person Keelboat event is specifically designed for athletes with a severe disability. The sport is governed by the International Association for Disabled Sailing (IFDS), which co-operates closely with the International Sailing Federation (the world governing body for sailing). The sport has grown rapidly and in 2006 has over 50 countries active in sailing for persons with disabilities at a development and national competition level.


In Shooting for athletes with disabilities, there are wheelchair and standing groups, split into subclasses which determine the mobility equipment allowed to be used by competitors. Competitors use pistols or rifles to fire a series of shots at a stationary target. Athletes compete in rifle and pistol events from distances of 10, 25 and 50 meters and in men’s, women’s and mixed competitions. Shooting utilizes a functional classification system, which enables athletes from different disability classes to compete together either individually or in teams. Shooting is governed by the IPC through the IPC Shooting Technical Committee following the modified rules of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF). These rules take into account the differences that exist between shooting for the able-bodied and shooting for persons with a disability.


Swimmers with disabilities are divided into three different groups, each subdivided into levels of severity. S1-S10: Physical impairment with the lower numbers representing the most severe disability; S11-S13: Visually impaired with S11 representing little or no sight and S13 representing greater vision (of no more than 20degrees); S14: Intellectual disability. Events are conducted as heats per class and with the fastest swimmers per class competing in the finals. There are various forms for swimmers to start their race; in the water, a dive start sitting on the starting platform or the typical standing start. During a swimming event, swimmers who are blind are required to have an assistant to help him/her as he or she approaches the swimming pool end wall, either to make a turn or for the finish of the race. This process is called tapping and performed by a “tapper”. These swimmers are also required to wear blackened goggles in all their events.


Table tennis for athletes with disabilities is contested by athletes with all types of disability except visual impairment. Players are split in 11 classes, grouped in standing, wheelchair and ID events with men and women competing individually, in doubles and in team events. 1-5: Wheelchair athletes with 5 being the least disabled; 6-10: Athletes who are able to walk independently with class 6 the most severely disabled; 11: Intellectual disability. The governing body for Table Tennis is the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF).


Sitting volleyball was introduced at the Arnhem 1980 Paralympics. The sport is governed by the World Organization for Volleyball for the Disabled (WOVD), and there are currently athletes from around 48 countries practicing the sport. A high level of teamwork, skill, strategy and intensity is needed in sitting volleyball. Each team’s goal is to pass the ball over the net and bounce on the ground on the opposing team’s side. Male and female athletes with a physical disability are eligible to participate and must fulfil the conditions of a minimum degree of disability. Teams are made up of mixed classes in male and female events, with six players on court at one time. At all times the athlete’s pelvis must touch the ground and the service block is allowed. Because sitting volleyball requires a smaller court (10m x 6m) and lower net, the game is considerably faster than the standing event. The game lasts up to five sets and the winning team is the first to win three sets. The first team to reach 25 points, with at least a two-point lead, takes the set.


Wheelchair Dance Sport involves athletes with a physical disability that affects the lower limbs. Wheelchair dancers may participate in “combi”-style dancing with an able-bodied (standing) partner or duo-dance for two wheelchair users together. Standard dances include the waltz, tango, Viennese waltz, slow foxtrot and quickstep. Latin-American dances include the samba, cha-cha-cha, rumba, paso doble and jive. There are also Formation dances for four, six or eight couples. The sport is governed by the International Paralympic Wheelchair Dance Sport Committee (IPWDSC) following the modified rules of the International Dance Sport Federation (IDSF).


Wheelchair fencing is one of the oldest sports for people with disabilities. First played at the mythical Stoke. Wheelchair Basketball was originally developed by World War II veterans in the USA in 1945/1946. At the same time, Sir Ludwig Guttmann developed a similar sport named Wheelchair Netball at the Spinal Rehabilitation Hospital at Stoke Mandeville, Great Britain, to aid the rehabilitation of war veterans. The US Wheelchair Basketball team, the Pan Am Jets, competed for the first time at the International Stoke Mandeville Games in 1955. Since then, the sport has developed worldwide and was introduced to the Paralympic Games in Rome in 1960. The sport, one of the most popular in the Paralympic Games, is designed for athletes who have a physical disability that prevents running, jumping and pivoting. Wheelchair Basketball is open to male or female athletes and is played by two teams of five players each. Depending on their functional abilities a point value from 0.5 (most severely disabled) to 4.5 is given to each player. Five players are on the court at any one time and throughout the game the total point value of each team must not exceed 14 points. The aim of each team is to score into the opponent’s basket and to prevent the other team from gaining control of the ball or scoring. The measurements of the court and the height of the baskets are the same as in able-bodied Basketball. The International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) is the world governing body for Wheelchair Basketball, and the sport is practiced by athletes in 77 countries. The European branch of the IWBF joined the EPC as a full member in 2007.

Some compete in wheelchairs, others with prostheses, and visually impaired athletes compete with the guidance of a sighted companion. Athletes compete according to their functional classifications in each event. Athletics includes: 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1,500m, 5,000m, 10,000m, 4x100m, 4x400m running, Discus, Shot Put, Javelin, Triple Jump, Long Jump, High Jump, Pentathlon and Marathon. Events are open to male and female athletes in all disability groups. The governing body is the IPC through the International Paralympic Athletics Committee.