Prague, June 29 (CTK) – The International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports (IWAS) World Games started with the participation of athletes aged 14-23 from 30 countries on Wednesday.

The handicapped athletes will compete in five sports disciplines: athletics, swimming, tennis, table tennis and fencing.

For some of them, it is one of the last chances to qualify for the September paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, others will try for the first time an international contest.

The IWAS is held for the 12th time.

In Prague, it was started by a ceremony at the Old Town Square in its centre this afternoon. Before a march by the participant countries, representatives of the individual clubs were showing the individual sport disciplines in the Prague historical centre.

The public could try the handbike-simulators, the wheelchair basketball and paragolf.

“We try to link the handicapped sport with the public. We try to show that handicap is just a word, not preventing sporting activities,” Jana Prochazkova, director of the organising Emil Foundation, said.

The NGO helps handicapped children and people under 30 who are interested in sports activities.

In the past years, the Emil Foundation organised five similar European games, attended by 2,400 people from 14 countries since 2009.

The races in Prague will be attended by 249 athletes, IWAS President Paul DePace said.

The first contests will start on Friday. They will continue on Saturday when the closing ceremony will be held.