The UK Sports Association for People with Learning Disability (UKSA) and Mencap Sport are delighted to announce that the UK will host the 7th Inas European Cross Country Championships in Yorkshire, England from 19th - 23rd February, 2015.

As the Inas member organisation for Great Britain, UKSA has been awarded hosting rights on the basis of a bid for delivery by its England member, Mencap Sport. 

The two organisations will work in close collaboration to deliver the world class endurance event at Thornes Park in Wakefield. 

Hosting this important event has been made possible by the Local Organising Committee, led by John Wootton and the generous support provided by Wakefield Council.

Chief Executive at the UK Sports Association, Tracey McCillen said:

 The 7th Inas European Cross Country Championships will bring together elite international athletes, their families, coaches and supporters to the City of Wakefield to compete for a coveted place amongst Europe’s best. On behalf of UKSA, I wish to warmly congratulate Mencap Sport for driving the bid forward. We look forward to working with Mencap Sport and Wakefield Council who through a strong collaboration will no doubt deliver an outstanding event. 

Chief Executive at Mencap, Jan Tregelles, said:

 We are delighted to host this top sporting event here in the UK. We believe that people with a learning disability should have the same opportunities to participate in elite sport, enjoy it, and excel in it as all other athletes. This competition will bring together the most outstanding runners with a learning disability from across Europe and we hope it brings the sport the attention it deserves. 

UKSA promotes, facilitates and supports talented athletes with learning disability in the UK to train, compete and excel in national and international competitive sport.

UKSA manages the eligibility and classification process for UK athletes with learning disability. The Great Britain Team is managed by UKSA in collaboration with its four Home Country members, Scottish Disability Sport, Disability Sports Northern Ireland, Welsh Sports Association for People with Learning Disability and Mencap Sport in England.

Mencap Sport works with the governing bodies of sport and other sports providers to promote opportunities for people with a learning disability at all levels.

The Great Britain Team to the Inas event will be selected and managed by the UK Sports Association. Further details on the British Team will be published soon.

-ENDS-

Contact the UK Sports Association on comms@uksportsassociation.org or 0207 490 3057.

Contact Mencap on media@mencap.org.uk or 020 7696 5414.

Notes to editor

The UK Sports Association for People with Learning Disability (UKSA) is the national disability sports organisation and umbrella body in the UK for sport and people with learning disability. UKSA promotes, supports and facilitates talented sports people with learning disability in the UK to train, compete and excel in national and international sport and is the body responsible for eligibility and classification of athletes from the UK.  UKSA is recognised by UK Sport, is a member of the British Paralympic Association and is the official Great Britain member of Inas. See www.uksportsassociation.org

Mencap Sport believes that people with a learning disability should have the same opportunities to participate, enjoy and excel in sport at all levels. Mencap Sport works with the governing bodies of sport and other sports providers to promote opportunities for people with a learning disability at all levels. www.mencap.org.uk/what-we-do/our-services/leisure/mencap-sport

Inas, For Para-Athletes with Intellectual Disability (formerly INAS-FID), founded in 1986, is a member of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and is the body responsible for the international competition for athletes with intellectual disability. See  www.inas.org

UKSA and Inas are different to Special Olympics.  UKSA promotes performance led elite competitive sport, has just one classification group in events and is focussed on the performance and winning gold.  UKSA and Inas are part of the pathway to Global Games and Paralympic Games. Special Olympics are a year-round sports training and competition programme for adults and children with learning disability. Special Olympics competitions are divisioned so that athletes compete with other athletes of similar ability in each sport. Special Olympics competitions are non-elite catering to all-ability levels. Special Olympics focus is on participation and improving an athlete’s quality of life. High sports ability athletes may progress to the Paralympic level through UKSA and Inas.

Learning Disability is a term used in the UK, with intellectual disability being used internationally.  Both refer to the same group of athletes. Learning disability is a “hidden disability”. It inhibits how a person learns and performs every day functions that others take for granted. It also reduces communication, understanding, social, and living skills. In elite performance sport learning disability is defined as an IQ of 75 or less; significant limitations in adaptive behaviour and age of onset of the learning disability being in the development years, i.e. 0 -18 years.  This definition adopted by Inas is from the World Health Organisation (WHO) definition of learning disability (mental handicap) and is in line with other internationally recognised definitions.