The achievements of Anne d’Ieteren’s 13-year tenure as president of the Belgian Paralympic Committee (BPC) were celebrated at an event in Brussels on Friday, 24 June with the IPC President Andrew Parsons presenting her with the inaugural Belgian Paralympic Legacy Award.
Elected in 2009 and having served three terms, d'Ieteren oversaw tremendous growth of the Paralympic Movement in Belgium, bringing vision, professionalism and strategic direction to her role as president.
She facilitated greater support for Para athletes, placing them at the centre of many projects, and implemented a range of activities to develop Para sport in the country.
At the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Belgium won 15 medals, the country’s biggest medal haul since the Atlanta 1996 Paralympics. In a speech, Parsons referred to this result as an example of d'Ieteren’s legacy.
“I have known Anne for almost 20 years and it was not a surprise to see the growth of the Belgian Paralympic Committee under her leadership,” Parsons said. “From one medal at the Beijing 2008 Paralympics to an incredible 15 medals at the Tokyo 2020 Games, Anne led the professionalisation of Para sport in Belgium.
“It is an honour to present her the first ever Belgian Paralympic Legacy Award on an emotional evening where the highlight was the thank you message to Anne from many athletes.”
Marc Vergauwen, who was elected to succeed d'Ieteren in April 2022 was also full of praise for d'Ieteren’s dedication over the years.
"She has left her mark on the Belgian Paralympic Movement and that is why we wanted to reward her,” Vergauwen said. “This new award is called the Belgian Paralympic Legacy Award and it will be given on a one-off basis to people who have made an outstanding contribution to the Paralympic Movement in our country.”
Prior to attending the BPC’s launch of “Road to Paris” where Parsons presented the award to d’Ieteren, the IPC President visited the Centre de Traumatologie et de Réadaptation (CTR) in Brussels, together with Karine Lalieux, Federal Minister of People with Disabilities and Social Inclusion. At the CTR, the birthplace of Paralympic sports in Belgium, Parsons learned more about the vital role the centre plays in the grassroots Para sport development in the country.
During the day he also met with Valérie Glatigny, Belgium’s Minister of Sports, members of the NPC and disability sport federations, and Jannie Haek, Cabinet Secretary of State and CEO of the National Lottery, the BPC’s biggest funding partner.
Earlier this year, the Lottery announced additional funding towards the Paris 2024 Games cycle and confirmed that equal amounts of prize money will be paid to Paris 2024 medal winners for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Earlier in the week, Parsons participated in the European Evening of Sport in Brussels, Belgium, and took part in a panel discussion on the future of major sport events in Europe.