First World Abilitysport Governing Board & Council elected in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand


On 8th December 2023, the first World Abilitysport General Assembly and Elections were held in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand. The inaugural Assembly elected a Governing Board and two members of the newly formed Council achieving a 50/50 gender split and representation from four continents for the first time.

On 8th December 2023, the first World Abilitysport General Assembly and Elections were held in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand. The inaugural Assembly for the organisation welcomed 28 full member organisations in person as well as two secondary members to the host city of the concurrent 2023 World Abilitysport Games.

The first of the elections saw a second term elected for uncontested President, Rudi Van den Abbeele.

Upon his election, Rudi Van den Abbeele said, ‘I saw many objectives achieved in my first term as President, most proudly, the final and much anticipated formation of one organisation representing athletes with physical impairments. I have many more goals for this upcoming term and I look forward to working with our new Board, Council and ever-growing membership to achieve these.’

Vice President of IWAS since 2017, Dr Tariq Sultan bin Khadim of United Arab Emirates was once again elected for his first term as World Abilitysport Vice President.

Re-elected for a further term as Members at Large were Brett Cooper (GBR), Dina Sotiriadi (GRE), Ernesta Strydom (RSA) and World Para Fencing Chairman, Pal Szekeres (HUN).

Newly elected to the Board, we welcome NPC Latvia’s Secretary General, Liene Apine and elected on home soil, Maitree Kongurang of Sports Association for the Disabled of Thailand.

Maitree Kongurang said of his new role, ‘I am delighted to be elected to the World Abilitysport Governing Board on the same day we close the successful first World Abilitysport Games here in Thailand. I believe the success of these Games demonstrates my commitment to the growth and development of our organisation and I am looking forward to working with our diverse and experienced Board.’

Newly elected World Abilitysport Governing BoardPresident, Rudi Van den Abbeele (FRA) and Vice President, Tariq Sultan bin Khadim (UAE) pictured with present Members at Large, Dina Sotiriadi (GRE), Brett Cooper (GBR), Liene Apine (LAT) & Maitree Kongruang (THA). 

As well as the Governing Board, the Assembly also elected Rajesh Tomar of Cerebral Palsy Sports Federation of India and previous Governing Board Member, NPC Iran’s Maryam Shokouhi who was elected unanimously to the newly formed World Abilitysport Council. The Board also announced the appointments of former CPISRA Board member, Australia’s Cathie Sherrington and Iraq NPC’s, Sameer Kaky. The Council will provide an advisory committee to the Governing Board on specific matters such as membership, sports and games development.

The Governing Board members present pictured with Council Members, Cathie Sherrington (AUS), Maryam Shokouhi (IRI), Rajesh Tomar (IND) and Sameer Kaky (IRQ).

Rudi Van den Abbeele commented at the close of elections, ‘We are very pleased to see our Members at Large and Council holding a 50/50 gender split with representation in four continents, Oceania, Africa, Europe and Asia. We hope to gain governance representative from the Americas over the coming years – but this is a huge step in ensuring our organisation is led in reflection of the rich diversity of the people we serve.’