Association History

The Welsh Sports Association for People with Learning Disabilities is a charitable organisation which provides sporting opportunities for people across Wales at local, national and international level.  In the South Region we hold annual swimming galas and athletics events catering for children from the age of 10 to adult for as long as they wish to participate. The North Region hosts various fun sports events based within the school system. We are eligible for Sports Council funding for our elite athletes but rely heavily on donations and fundraising to cover our costs at local and national level. All of our officers and  committee are voluntary and give freely of their time.

The WSAPLD was set up in 1981 when it was found that there was no ‘Sporting’ body in Wales that catered specifically for people with learning disabilities.
It was established and held it's first National Games in 1982.

Organisation of the National Association

The National Association was originally divided into the three regions of Wales:
  • North Wales
  • South Wales
  • Mid & West Wales
  • (Mid & West Wales are no longer a part of the National Organisation, choosing to organise their own events separately).
Each Region has its own Committee responsible for the running and organising of events.

The National Committee, which comprises of representatives from the Regional Committees, meets three times a year.

Achievements over the years
  • Since its inauguration, the Association has trained and sent Athletes & Swimmers all over the World to compete in Paralympic and International events.
  • The emphasis had been on the National Games, whereby competitors from all over Wales got together for a 4 day sporting competition. The Association catered for competitors from the age of 10 to 21+. Many had been with us from the beginning and still take part in their 50’s! It was also a great opportunity for gaining essential social skills and making or renewing friendships. This now continues on a Regional basis.
  • Potential ability can be spotted and developed for the future.
  • All levels of ability can achieve success in their own right.
Two of our athletes, who have been with us since the beginning, developed their skills and have gone on to achieve International Status.
They were honoured by their home town where their portraits were hung in the Leisure Centre Hall of Fame.
Both still compete in our Regional and National Games.

                                            Andrew Davies                                                                                                       Kevin Egan

The United Kingdom Structure

The UK Sports Association for People with Learning Disability (UKSA) is the official Great Britain member of INAS-FID. This is further represented throughout Great Britain by National Associations: e.g.
  • Welsh Sports Association for People with Learning Disability.
  • Northern Ireland Sports Association for People with Learning Disability.
  • English Sports Association for People with Learning Disability.
  • Scottish Disability Sport. 
UKSA facilitates talented athletes along the performance pathway to international opportunities including European and World Championship events, plus the Global Games and ultimately the Paralympic Games. It is the only portal in the UK through which Great Britain athletes can compete at INAS-FID competition.

UKSA's role is unique as it is the only organisation for sport for people with learning disability that has a truly UK wide remit and it has the responsibility for classification of athletes with learning disability in the UK.

INAS-FID has now been renamed as VIRTUS - World Intellectual Impairment Sport

Our Vision: Athletes With An Intellectual Impairment Across The World Have The Opportunity To Achieve Excellence In Sport And High-Level Competition
The International Federation for Persons with Intellectual Disability (INAS-FID) is the international governing body for sport for people with intellectual disability and has a worldwide membership.
INAS-FID events are performance sport events and only athletes who are training and competing at sufficient levels within their sport will meet the high performance standards that UKSA and INAS-FID expect. As a member of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) it is a recognized part of the performance pathway for athletes with intellectual disability through to the Global Games and Paralympic Games.
INAS-FID differs from Special Olympics in that the two organisations have a different ethos. INAS-FID is about performance led competitive sport and just one classification group in events. Special Olympics is about the taking part and using sport for other social benefits.

It may be about winning medals and having important people to present them.. But mostly it’s about having fun!
The Deputy Lord Mayor of Cardiff presents medals at the 2011 Games:

Jayne Cowan, Deputy Lord Mayor Of Cardiff

Sue Robinson : Chairman
South Wales Committee: 2015