Aims and Objectives

  • To increase the number of elite athletes with a disability competing in future Paralympic and Commonwealth Games.
  • To increase the number of Northern Irish athletes selected for Team GB/ Team Ireland in Paralympic Games and major championships, as well as for the Northern Ireland Team at the Commonwealth Games.
  • To increase the number of athletes participating in the Northern Ireland Championships and in the National Squad ie the Youth Academy.
  • To increase the number of competitions and integrated competitions for podium potential and squad athletes.
  • To increase the link with local athletes to clubs that have para athletes.
  • To increase the number of integrated events for more local competition opportunities for athletes.
  • To talent ID children in schools and try to link them to local athletic clubs, providing better links into the competition structure for the athletes.
  • To increase the opportunity for athletes to train under the supervision of experienced coaches. For example, getting more coach and athlete pairs to attend our Athletics NI Para sessions

What we offer:

We provide a pathway for para athletes from beginners through to high performance. We provide competition for various levels of para athletics which are integrated with mainstream competitions.

We run taster session for children age 8 – 17 years old at different times during the year like Easter and Summer. We run 6 para sessions between September – April for athletes 12 years through to seniors, these sessions are suitable for beginners to developmental athletes. We want as many athletes to join local athletics club when possible. Then if an athlete reaches Youth Academy standard, they join their session also. For information on Youth Academy go to

When athletes reach the Event Specific or Performance Levels of the Athlete Development Pathway they then liaise with Tom Reynolds Performance Lead.

Event Specific:

Performance Level:


We arrange for the top British Athletics & Paralympics Ireland para coaches to run workshops through out the year that coaches can register to attend, including:

  • Athletics NI Disability Inclusion workshop – theory and practical session – including guide running
  • Athletics NI wheelchair racing workshop – theory and practical session
  • UKA Disability Inclusion online module- now online here
  • Coaches CPD – coaches can attend our Para session with their athletes

Para Training Session Dates:

Athletics NI host 6 Para Training sessions throughout the year for athletes to take part in Para Athletics. The sessions are for athletes aged 12 and above, and have a mix of new and experienced para athletes. Participants will have the opportunity to do run/ jump/ throw or try out racing wheelchairs and seated throws.

If you enjoy athletics, we will recommend some athletics clubs/ coaches in your area. The dates are as follows:






Being from Northern Ireland you can choose to be classified by British Athletics or Paralympics Ireland, the medical forms are the same for both as they are from World Para Athletics. A national classification does not mean you will be selected to compete for either country, it is so that you can compete in national level competitions in the right classification group.

To be classified you need to be over 11 years of age and training in the sport for at least 3 months. These clinics are for physical disabilities only, visual or Intellectual impairment classification are done differently.

British Athletics Classification Clinic

Venue: Mary Peters Track, Belfast

Dates: Saturday 25th May & Sunday 26th May 2024 (Saturday physical classification, Sunday observation during competition)

Time: TBC when booking has been confirmed

Forms: Medical forms need to be completed and emailed back before 26th April 2024

If you would like to be classified you need to let Heather Ardis ( know so she can book you a slot and you need to get the medical form attached (World Para Athletics PI Medical Diagnostics Form 2022) filled in by a doctor and emailed to Kirsty Allen ( before the 20th April.

For more information on national classification click here

Paralympics Ireland are also hoping to hold an ambulant classification clinic in Carlow in May or June. If you would like to attend this clinic let me know and I can contact Paralympics Ireland about booking you a slot. The Paralympics Ireland medical form is attached and will need to be filled in by a doctor at least 1 month before the classification date.

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:

Para 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

Athlete Assistance for Competition

Athlete Assistance Form- This document allows athletes with disabilities to request assistance, where required, from Event Organisers or officials for competitions.

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 9060 2707 

British Athletics Contact: Coral Nourrice, British Athletics Paralympic Pathway Manager, 
Paralympics Ireland: James Nolan,
Special Olympics
Disability Sport NI

British Blind Sport

The British Blind Sport Guide for Supporting Visually Impaired Adults and Children in Athletics is another useful resource.