History Of Organised games for the disabled

The first Games for athletes with a disability were held in 1948 in Stoke Mandeville, England. On the day of the Opening Ceremony of the 1948 Olympic Games in London, the Stoke Mandeville Games were launched and the first competition for wheelchair athletes was organised.

Four years later, athletes from the Netherlands joined the Games; thus the international movement, now known as the Paralympic movement, was born.

Olympic style Games for athletes with a disability were organised for the first time in Rome in 1960, immediately after the Olympic Games. They are considered the first Paralympic Games. About 400 athletes from 23 countries competed in 8 sports, 6 of which are still included in the Paralympic Competition Programme (Archery, Swimming, Fencing, Basketball, Table tennis and Athletics).

Since then Paralympic Games have been organised every four years. The Paralympic Games have always been held in the same year as the Olympic Games.

Other disability groups were added in Toronto, Canada in 1976 and the idea was conceived of merging together different disability groups for international sport competitions. In the same year, the first Paralympic Winter Games took place in Sweden.

In 1988, the Seoul Paralympic Summer Games marked a significant change, as both Olympic and Paralympic Games were held at the same venues. Since then the Paralympic Games have always taken place at the same venues as the Olympic Games.

Since 1960, eleven (11) Paralympic Summer and seven (7) Paralympic Winter Games have been organised.

The Paralympic Games have evolved into a major sports event, second only to the Olympic Games.

Paralympic sports in Greece started to develop in the seventies and the first Greek athlete participated in the Paralympic Games in 1976.