Maureen_Strange_head_and_shouldersIt was just last month that International Wheelchair & Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) Junior Games in Dubai reached a conclusion and the subject of Junior Games has been a hot topic for the IOC, the IPC and here on insideworldparasport.

IWAS efforts in this area are recognised by the Paralympic Movement, not only for the pathway it establishes for young athletes with a physical disability, but also for the part the event can play in the bigger picture for the future of a potential Youth Paralympic Games.

Whilst the IPC admits that at the moment the main focus is on the Paralympic Games itself, which are still evolving; recently Xavier Gonzalez, the chief executive of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), said in an interview to insideworldparasport on the subject of a Youth Paralympic Games: "One of our members, IWAS, also runs a World Junior Games so we are trying to bring all of these elements together."

There are many athletes worldwide who have taken the opportunity of the IWAS World Junior Games to further their career in sport internationally. Not least is the four-time Paralympic gold medallist Oscar Pistorius from South Africa who competed in the track discipline of the sport of IPC Athletics at the event not so long ago.

This 24-year-old double amputee has now recently achieved the B-qualification for Olympic Games and continues to pursue his dream of a double amputee competing against Olympians as well as Paralympians.

A wealth of memories, experiences and achievements fill an athlete's career from initial grass roots at national and international level as a Junior right through to Senior competition at World Championships and then the Paralympic Games for the super-elite.

The IPC is also looking to organise a Past Paralympian Reunion during the 2012 London Games. This initiative and the year 2012 coincide nicely with IWAS 60th anniversary and IWAS plans for celebration!

Maura Strange is the IWAS secretary general