The International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) have announced that Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, will host the IWAS World Games 2020 from 20-28 February, just six months before the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

The news follows on from a successful 2019 edition which was staged in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, in February.

The organisers of Nakhon Ratchasima 2020, the Sports Association for the Disabled of Thailand (SADT), plan to offer an impressive programme of action.

Under discussion for inclusion are 12 sports – archery, wheelchair tennis, badminton, wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, athletics, shooting, swimming, track cycling, powerlifting, wheelchair fencing and table tennis.

Competition will take place in modern venues across the city, including cultural hubs such as the Central Plaza, The Mall and Terminal 21. This will bring the action directly to the community, allowing them to experience Para sport up close.

In November 2018, guided by the organisers, IWAS President Rudi Van Den Abbeele visited the venues and met with the Minister of Tourism and Sports, Weerasak Kowsurat.

Van Den Abbeele said: “We are delighted to confirm Nakhon Ratchasima as the vibrant setting for the next edition of the IWAS World Games.

“Taking place in February 2020, just six months ahead of Tokyo 2020, we expect to see some of the world’s best athletes competing in Asia before the year’s big event in the region. It will also offer developing athletes from the surrounding countries, to compete on the world stage as they look to build their careers.

“During my visit to Thailand I was impressed with the enthusiasm of the Local Organising Committee and everyone involved with delivering the event. We are excited to work with the Sports Association for the Disabled of Thailand (SADT) to deliver an exceptional World Games and are happy to see it receiving the full support of the national government.”

Supacheep Didthed, the Secretary General of SADT, said: “The IWAS World Games 2020 will stimulate disabled athletes in the region to show their sporting abilities. This is the first time this sports festival will take place in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) area, and will develop the participating country’s potential to compete at the world level.

“The Sports Association for the Disabled of Thailand, under the Royal Patronage of His Majesty the King, hopes to encourage all nations to develop competitive sports management and facilities for Para athletes. This will also enhance conditions for all people with impairments. The legacy of the Games will help to inspire athletes to improve their abilities and reach their full potential. In the future they will be able to use their experience to develop themselves into coaches, to teach the next generation of athletes, and become sport organisers themselves. 

“Most importantly these Games will help to publicise, to the regional population, the amazing abilities of Para athletes and give some competitors an opportunity to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.”

The IWAS World Games 2020 are expected to attract more than 1,000 athletes from 50 countries.

The World Games are the biggest event on the IWAS calendar and have featured the international debut of many athletes who have gone on to become Paralympic, world and regional champions and medallists over the years.