VISTA 2021

Application to the podium – translating research and development to athlete performance

The VISTA Conference is designed to provide a platform for sport scientists and researchers to meet with experts in the field of sport for athletes with disabilities to discuss, exchange, and gain advanced knowledge in this area.

The 10th edition of the VISTA Conference will be organised virtually over six days in partnership with six leading Universities between 18 November and 16 December 2021.

More information on the 2021 edition registration, the programme and submission of abstracts is available at

Ⓒ Eddy Kelele Fotografia


Designed to provide a platform for sport scientists and researchers to hear from and have dialogue with experts in the field of sport for athletes with disabilities, VISTA 2021 will be led by KU Leuven, Belgium; University of Stellenbosch, South Africa; The Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden; School of Kinesiology; Western University, Canada; University of Pittsburgh, USA; and Yonsei University, South Korea.

VISTA 2021 will address six themes at the heart of the Paralympic Movement: Ethics and Integrity (18 Nov) – Socio-Cultural Legacy (22 Nov) – Health and Medicine (29 Nov) – Evidence-Based Classification (1 Dec) – Technology in Paralympic Sport (14 Dec) – Paralympic Performance (16 Dec).

Each theme will be discussed during dedicated three-hour long online sessions which will include a keynote address (30 min), oral presentations (90 min) and a panel discussion with renowned experts (60 min). Keynotes, oral and poster presentations will be pre-recorded and made available online to all participants on 1 November 2021. In this way, the three hours online session is reserved for Q&A and interaction with the audience.

Sports scientists and experts in Para sport are invited to submit abstracts for oral and poster presentations through the conference website which will open on May 15, 2021. Abstract submissions are expected until 10 July 2021, 23:59 WET.

Participants registering for the six-day conference before 15 September 2021 at can take advantage of an early bird registration fee of EUR 175. Students can book their places for EUR 80 until 15 September. Partial registration for selected themes is also foreseen at Participation in the conference is free for all Paralympians who participated in the Paralympic Games from Rome 1960 to Tokyo 2020. Registration fee is waived for delegates from countries on the lower 50% of the UN Human development Index ranking 2020.


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.


In 1993, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) felt that there was an urgent need to increase knowledge pertaining to elite sport for athletes with a disability 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 a disability. 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. 

The latest edition was held in Amsterdam, Netherlands, between 4-7 September 2019, with the theme being "Healthy and Fit for Optimal Performance".