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History of IBSA

The first years

The International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) was founded in Paris in 1981 as a non-profit-making organisation. The founding congress was held at UNESCO headquarters in the French capital, and was attended by 30 countries.

IBSA's status as a legal entity was formalised in 1985 with the adoption of its first constitution during the general assembly held in Hurdal, Norway. The original constitution was revised and amended at several assemblies, including in June 1997 at the 5th General Assembly in Casablanca and the 7th assembly in Beijing, China, in 2005. 

Caption: the original IBSA logo (black and white)

Caption: the original IBSA logo in colour (blue and yellow)

IBSA was registered at the Spanish National Sports Council (CSD) from March 1996 until the beginning of 2014, when the federation's legal domicile was transferred to Bonn, Germany.

IBSA's current constitution and by-laws were adopted when the domicile was moved to Germany.

IBSA is fully integrated within the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the umbrella governing body for the Paralympic Games. IBSA's main aim is to organise sports competitions and activities where blind and partially sighted can compete in equal conditions with their peers. This is achieved through the work of the governing bodies in IBSA: Executive Board, Management Committee, Sports Technical Committee, Medical Committee and, most importantly, the subcommittees for each IBSA sport.

For IBSA it is essential that the visually impaired sports movement has its own identity and there is an international federation working to promote sports specifically for blind and partially sighted boys, girls, men and women. One of IBSA's goals is to remain a strong organisation: with over 100 member countries from all five continentes and a considerable presence in many parts of the world we are securing this objective.

The Executive Committee is IBSA's governing body; priority in our actions and in the use of resources is generally given to countries where blind sports programmes do not exist or require strengthening. IBSA also strives to promote sports through various communications strategies, training programmes and institutional relationships with governments and other authorities.

Key goals

IBSA's purpose is:
  • to foster friendship among blind athletes,
  • to motivate and get as many blind people as possible involved in sporting activities on a regular basis,
  • to promote and disseminate the ideas underlying both competition and recreational sport for the blind,
  • to defend the Olympic ideal and act in accordance with its principles,
  • to promote the aims and ideas of IBSA at schools for the blind and among blind youngsters in general,
  • to plan, promote and coordinate international events and activities with a view to stimulating greater development of sporting programmes for the blind in every country, including international sports meetings, seminars and conferences on questions related to sports for the blind,
  • to disseminate relevant information and arrange international exchange programmes for people linked to the world of blind sports and the sports advisors and officials of those organisations,
  • to establish universally accepted rules for blind sports,
  • to establish a register of records,
  • to provide aid to those institutions and individuals who work in the field of blind sports ,
  • to act as the maximum authority in all cases, except where the decision depends on a jury at an international competition.

IBSA sees sport as an essential medium for the promotion of blind persons everywhere, as there can be no doubt regarding the formative, self-esteem and excellence-seeking qualities it provides. The principal interest of this Federation is to put across the central idea underlying the promotion of our sports: to demonstrate our capabilities in administering our own activities and defending the interests of blind persons who practice sports. All this must be achieved without abandoning our solidarity with the other disabled groups, something that has been amply demonstrated whenever it was called upon.

Caption: IBSA 25th anniversary logo

IBSA Silver Jubilee

IBSA celebrated its Silver Jubilee (25th Anniversay) in 2006. To mark the occasion, a specially-designed logo was created and used at all IBSA events during the year and a gala dinner in honour of IBSA presidents was held in Madrid, Spain, on Saturday the 30th of September.

IBSA General Assemblies

  • April 1981 - Paris, France;
  • 27th - 29th May 1985, Hurdal, Norway;
  • 2nd - 4th June 1989, Formia, Italy;
  • 24th - 26th June 1993, San José, Costa Rica;
  • 14th - 16th June 1997, Casablanca, Morocco;
  • 13th - 15th September 2001, Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic);
  • 9th - 11th June 2005, Beijing, China;
  • 3rd - 4th April 2009, Antalya, Turkey;
  • 31st August - 1st September 2013, Copenhagen, Denmark.
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