More than 1,000 of the world's best athletes with an intellectual impairment are expected to converge on Vichy in 2023 for the Virtus Global Games.
Virtus – the organisation formerly known as the International Sports Federation for Persons with Intellectual Disability – has announced the French city will stage the multi-sports event, one year before Paris hosts the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The sixth edition of the Virtus Global Games will be held from June 4 to 10, 2023 and will see athletes compete across 10 main sports.
Many of the Virtus athletes in athletics, swimming and table tennis that competed at the 2019 Global Games in Brisbane are set to represent their countries at next year's Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
Virtus President Marc Truffaut congratulated the Fédération Française du Sport Adapté (FFSA) for winning the bid to the host the event, which he believes is "growing in reputation and interest" from the "broader Paralympic Movement".
"The Virtus Global Games is an event that all of our athletes and their families look forward to being involved in," Truffaut said.
Virtus announces Global Games 2023 in France. Congratulations @FFSASportAdapte on winning the bid. This multi-sport event will see thousands of athletes compete for GOLD medals in just 1000 days. Save the date. 4 - 10 June, 2023. #GG2023 #Virtus #FFSA #WeAreSport #SportInclusion pic.twitter.com/cNtbGt3wK5— Virtus: World Intellectual Impairment Sport (@SPORTVirtus) September 6, 2020
"This event supports our drive towards sport inclusion on a global stage, where we can challenge perceptions and change attitudes."
Virtus claims the FFSA has developed sport opportunities for people with an intellectual impairment, contributing to perceptions about disability and growing inclusion through sport.
Esther Nomme has been given the responsibility of leading the Local Organising Committee for the Global Games.
"A multi-sport event such as the Global Games is an honour to be part of and I am excited about my new role, working with the team to build memories and legacies for the city, the sport and most importantly the athletes," said Nomme.
"Just like the athletes of any high-performance international sporting event, Virtus athletes train and prepare themselves for competing at their best, etching out personal bests and records, to showcase their talents and to break perceptions about intellectual impairment."
Marie-Amelie Le Fur, a three-time Paralympic champion in athletics, added: "As President of the CPSF (Comité Paralympique et Sportif Français), I am sincerely delighted that Vichy will become the next host city of the Global Games in 2023.
"One year before the Paralympic Games in Paris, this world-renowned competition will allow our athletes to prepare themselves for the Games in the best conditions, and more generally for the whole of sport for people with intellectual impairment to shine in our territory."
Laurent Wauquiez, President of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region, also welcomed the news, describing Vichy as an "important place in our region in the field of Para-sport and adapted sport" thanks to the CREPS sports complex.
Mayor of Vichy Frédéric Aguilera added: "Vichy, a city of sports, has massively invested in renovating excellent facilities where all sports disciplines have their place.
"Labelled 'Terre de jeux 2024' (Land of the Games 2024), our city is currently preparing to host Olympic and Paralympic delegations involved in Paris' Olympic Games."