Following a consultation process with the sports of Athletics, Swimming, Football and Gymnastics it was agreed to support the formation of a new Union to co-ordinate the programme for the existing international sports organisations of:
International Athletics Association for athletes with Down Syndrome
Down Syndrome International Swimming Organisation
Football International Federation for players with Down Syndrome
Down Syndrome International Gymnastics Organisation
International Table Tennis Association for players with Down Syndrome
Judo for Down Syndrome players
Skiing for people with Down Syndrome
Intarnational Association Basketball For Atheltes With Down Syndrome
A generic Registration Form is now in use so that athletes need only register once whatever sports they participate in. In time this will streamline the registration process and avoid repetitive form filling and evidence gathering for the athletes.
This Form is now available on the website. Some sports, such as swimming and gymnastics will have additional forms so look for these.
The Union will also be able to co-ordinate the programme for all the Sports. Currently Athletics and Table Tennis will hold respectively their third and second World Championship in 2015 in South Africa; Gymnastics will hold its Second World Championships in 2015 in Italy; and Swimming will hold its 8th World Championships in 2016 in Italy. Futsal held its first World Championships in Brazil in 2013. Skiing is planning to hold its first World Championships in 2016 in Italy.
In time SU-DS will be joined by other sports and at this time discussions are taking place for Tennis and Sailing. Each sport will retain its autonomous structure as an International Sports Federation. In this way SU-DS will be developing along the lines recommended by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) for the governance of sport for disabled people.
Ultimately, SU-DS will approach the International Paralympic Committee for it to recognise the disability of Down syndrome as a new class. Currently, athletes with Down syndrome can only compete in Paralympic sports as athletes with an Intellectual Disability. However, the addition physical disabilities that are inherent with Down syndrome means that these athletes are out-performed by athletes with Intellectual Disability who have no physical disability to further disadvantage them.