In 2020 we celebrate two important events: the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the Slovak Paralympic Committee (SPC) and the XVI Paralympic Games in Tokyo. However, for the first time in their history, as a consequence of the global coronavirus pandemic, the games have been postponed by exactly a year and are now planned to take place from 24th August–5th September 2021. We expect that approximately 40 Slovak sportspeople will participate in 10 sports at these Paralympics. Our most successful summer Paralympian is Ján Riapoš (para table tennis) with 4 golds and 1 silver. He is followed by the para shooter Veronika Vadovičová who has a record of 3–1–1 and has become the model for the postage stamp that celebrates the Tokyo Paralympics.
The founding general assembly of the SPC was held in January 1995 through an initiative of the four sports unions that represented sportspeople with physical, visual, mental and hearing impairments (the latter left the SPC in 2005, at their own request, to follow their own path). The SPC was accepted into the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) on 3rd June 1995. The first President was Helena Hanková who served from 1995–2000, followed by Pavol Straka from 2000–2002 and Karol Mihok from 2002–2003. Ján Riapoš has been the President and statutory representative since 2003.
Until 1992 the Slovak Paralympians had been part of the Czechoslovak team at a number of summer and winter Paralympics. From the Winter Paralympics of 1994 in Lillehammer onwards, they have competed under the Slovak flag. Their first independent participation in the summer Paralympics was at Atlanta in 1996. They have taken part in a total of 13 Paralympics (7 winter and 6 summer), earning an impressive total of 114 medals, of which 34 are gold, 40 silver and 40 bronze! These successes justify the continued existence of the SPC, which stands on three pillars: sporting, social and motivational. We believe that Tokyo will be the successful entrance of Slovak Paralympians into this new quarter century. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for them!
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