Para Athletes


Are you aged between 12 and 18? Are you sporty and dream of becoming the next Elite Sprinter, Jumper or Thrower at the Paralympics and Olympics in Tokyo 2020? Yes? Then all you need to do is sign up!

If you’re an aspiring young athlete looking for ways to make waves in Paralympic athletics, then our Athletics NI training sessions are a great way to get started on your road to success!

Maybe you want to find yourself a great coach to help you develop your talents or you might just want to give yourself a challenge (and see how good you really are!)

Athletics events are the best way to learn more about the sport and meet new people (especially the ones you want to beat!). You can attend an event in your area - see schedule below.

A bit confused about classification? Who isn’t! The British Athletics Parallel Success website can help point you in the right direction with Classification information and provide you with enough basic information to get you started!

Training Sessions

Athletics NI organise Para Athlete training sessions through the year for athletes in the categories listed below.  These sessions will be for athletes aged 12 years through to seniors.  There is no charge for these sessions.

Within athletics these are the classification groups. Each group is subdivided into classes depending on the level of impairment. There are strict criteria attached to each class, use the following basic guidelines for eligibility. If you have any questions please contact Heather Ardis on the email address or number below.

The following groups are currently included in the Paralympic Pathway:

T-Track F-Field




Athlete with a Visual Impairment



Athletes with Co-ordination Impairments (hypertonia, ataxia and athetosis)



Short Stature



Amputee & Les Autres



Wheelchair Racers



Seated Field Athletes



Lower limb/s competing with prosthesis affected by limb deficiency and leg length difference

The classification process identifies the athlete's functional ability in relation to the event group in which they are competing. The athlete undergoes a series of mobility tests and is seen in competition by IPC (International Paralympic Committee) qualified classifiers.

Session Dates:




15th February 2020

Ulster University, Jordanstown (ambulant)

2pm - 4pm

16th February 2020

Ulster University, Jordanstown

10am- 12pm

29th February 2020 &

1st March 2020

Mary Peters Track- Para Throws Weekend*

11am- 3pm

22nd March 2020

Mary Peters Track, Belfast

1pm - 3pm

26th April 2020

Mary Peters Track, Belfast

1pm - 3pm


Please note this is open to coaches who would like to develop their Throws Coaching as well as to athletes.

Wheelchair Training Sessions

Wheelchair track training sessions - these are held at the Mary Peters Track (Belfast) on Thursday nights 5pm - 6pm for athletes aged 8-12 (April to October) and from 5pm - 6.30pm (all year) for athletes aged 12 and older.

If you are interested in attending please email through your name, age and disability details to Heather Ardis:

Wheelchair track sessions – Following on from these sessions Athletics NI will create links between athletes and local clubs. A full list of clubs in Northern Ireland can be found at


image17-evedannmpt.jpgAn athlete with a physical, sensory or learning disability is required to be classified if they wish to take part in national/ international competitions.

Athletics NI are hoping to encourage more people with a physical disability to take part in athletics. Within NI there are many athletes already taking part in the sport with out realising that they can be classified as an athlete with a disability. Classification would give the athletes the opportunity to take part in more competitions against athletes of their own ability.

Most of ANI’s Paralympic athletes compete regularly in able bodied competitions and over recent years they have started to take part in disability competitions. This has given them the opportunity to travel the world competing in competitions such as;
World Junior IPC Games, World IPC Games and Paralympics


Track & Field - Competitions to be decided by the Track & Field Committee in November.

Road Races – Many of the 10k & half marathons across Northern Ireland have a wheelchair category. Just check with individual race organisers.

Special Olympics

Special Olympics Ulster provides year round sports training and competition to over 2,000 people with an intellectual disability in the counties Antrim, Down, Armagh, Tyrone, Fermanagh and Derry, Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan. Special Olympics Ulster have their own website with more information.

Contact Details

Athletics NI: Heather Ardis, Athletics House, Old Coach Road, Belfast BT9 5PR

Email: or Phone: 028 90602707 


British Athletics Contact: Sarah Benson
Paralympics Ireland: James Nolan,
Special Olympics
Disability Sport NI

Athletics NI - Code for behavior

Code of Behaviour for Athletes with Special Needs. All athletes must agree to the following code:


  • I will practice good sportsmanship.
  • I will act in ways that bring respect to me, my coaches and my team
  • I will not use bad language.
  • I will not swear or insult other persons.
  • I will not fight with other athletes, coaches, volunteers, or staff.

Training and Competition

  • I will train regularly.
  • I will learn and follow the rules of my sport.
  • I will listen to my coaches and the officials and ask questions when I do not understand.
  • I will always try my best during training and competitions.
  • I will not “hold back” in preliminary competition just to get into an easier finals competition division.

Responsibility for My Actions

  • I will not make inappropriate or unwanted physical, verbal, or sexual advances on others.
  • I will not smoke in non-smoking areas.
  • I will not drink alcohol or use illegal drugs at sports training or competitions.
  • I will not take drugs for the purpose of improving my performance.

I understand that if I do not obey this Code of Conduct, I will be subject to a range of consequences within my Programme including not being allowed to participate in competition