Healthy and Fit for Optimal Performance
4-7 September

About VISTA 2019

Healthy and Fit for Optimal Performance

Amsterdam, the Netherlands will be hosting the ninth VISTA Conference from 4-7 September 2019. The Conference will take place at the Novotel Amsterdam City Hotel.

The theme of the Conference is "Healthy and Fit for Optimal Performance". The VISTA Conference, hosted by the Amsterdam Institute of Sport Science, is designed to provide a platform for sport scientists and researchers to meet with experts in the field of sport for athletes with impairments to discuss, exchange, and gain advanced knowledge in this area.

VISTA Objectives

• To provide a forum for exchange on current information, research and expertise related to Paralympic Sport and the Paralympic Movement.

• To enhance and promote cross-disciplinary professional interaction among sport scientists, coaches, athletes and sport administrators.

Target audience

The target groups of the Conference include: sports scientists and researchers, classifiers, coaches/trainers, sports administrators and athletes.

Theme and content

VISTA 2019 is organised around the theme: "Healthy and Fit for Optimal Performance". The theme will be discussed in keynote presentations, invited symposia, and free communications. They will cover key issues such as the socio-economic determinants of Paralympic participation and success; evidence-based classification; athlete health and well-being; integrative approaches to the preparation of Paralympic athletes; technology and engineering and athlete and coach education.

The organisers

The Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Medical Centers (VUmc and AMC), the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, InHolland University of Applied Sciences, Topsport Amsterdam, Reade rehabilitation center and OLVG hospital take part in the Amsterdam Institute of Sport Science (AISS) and focus within this institute on research on and (scientific and practical) support of regular and adapted sports.

Both at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the VU University Medical Center sport and human movement are studied in depth. The major part of the research of the Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences aims to understand and improve sport performance, able-bodied and adapted sport, by studying biomechanical, physiological, perceptual and cognitive processes and factors. Symbiotic research at the VU University Medical Center focuses on optimising health and preventing injury. The scientific quality and practical applicability of the research projects in question are recognised for their vast output in international journals devoted to theoretical and applied aspects of sport research.

At the Center for Adapted Sports Amsterdam (part of AISS) research regarding adapted sports, beginning from sport taking place during rehabilitation through to elite sport is performed. Additionally, scientific support for elite Paralympic athletes is provided. One of the IPC Classification Research and Development Centres is located at Vrije Universiteit, where a project for the development of sport-specific classification for athletes with visual impairments is conducted. Also, in 2015 the APH Institute was accredited as an IOC Research Center for Prevention of Injury and Protection of Athlete Health. The Amsterdam and InHolland Universities of Applied Sciences are project leaders of an EU funded project (Sports Empowering Disabled Youth) focusing on the promotion of sports for children with disabilities.

To organise VISTA 2019, AISS has teamed up with colleagues from the National Olympic and Paralympic Committee of the Netherlands (NOC*NSF), the Sports Engineering Institute, Delft University of Technology, the Hague University of Applied Sciences, and the University Medical Center Groningen. All partners are extensively involved in adapted sports and (applied) research.


In 1993, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) felt that there was an urgent need to increase knowledge pertaining to elite sport for athletes with an impairment in the international arena. As a result, the concept of VISTA, which means a long succession of events, emerged.

The first VISTA Conference was held in Jasper, Alberta, Canada at the Jasper Park Lodge in May 1993. At this Conference, 163 international authorities convened to discuss issues pertinent to sport for athletes with an impairment. The delegates included researchers, administrators, trainers, coaches and athletes. A variety of plenary and interactive sessions were organised in the areas of performance. These included: exercise physiology, advances in training techniques, technical developments, sports medicine, classification, integration, ethics, organisation and administration.

The German Sport University in Cologne, Germany, staged the second VISTA Conference in September 1999. In this Conference, the overall concept of the VISTA ’93 Congress was retained. Once again researchers, administrators, coaches and athletes discussed optimal ways of implementing “theory into practice” in the areas identified above.

Four years later the third VISTA Conference was held in September 2003 at the Swedish Development Centre for Sport in Bollnäs, Sweden. The theme of this Conference was “Youth in Disability Sport” and was deemed a great success by all attendees.

The theme for the fourth conference, held between 6-7 May 2006, was “Classification – Solutions for the Future”. For two days, 210 participants discussed the future of classification in the Paralympic Movement.

“A Multidisciplinary Approach to Paralympic Success” was the theme of the fifth VISTA staged between 31 August–3 September 2011. Over 200 participants engaged in a highly effective dialogue between scientific and professional experts, coaches, administrators and athletes.

In 2013 “Equipment and Technology in Paralympic Sports” was the theme for the sixth VISTA which took place between 1-4 May.

The stunning Spanish city of Girona hosted the seventh VISTA Conference from 7-10 October 2015. The theme of the Conference was "Securing the future for young para-athletes".

VISTA 2017 “Opportunities and Challenges in Paralympic Sport Science and Sport Medicine Support” returned to Canada and was hosted in Toronto from 20-23 September. It became the biggest VISTA Conference in terms of numbers of participants.