IWAS President and Vice-President to be Presented with Paralympic Order


Paul DePace and Karl Vilhem Nielsen join IWAS founder, Sir Ludwig Guttmann, in the list of esteemed recipients of the Order.

IWAS President, Paul DePace and IWAS Vice-President, Karl Vilhelm Nielsen are to be awarded the prestigious Paralympic Order at the Paralympic Awards Gala in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The Award, created in 1994, is the highest tribute a person connected with the Paralympic Movement can achieve, honouring those who have exemplified the Paralympic ideals through their actions, made remarkable strides in Paralympic Sport or rendered outstanding services to the Paralympic cause.

Both are in inspiring company as recipients of the Order, alongside founder of ISMWSF, the forerunner to IWAS, Sir Ludwig Guttmann, who was bestowed the Paralympic Order for pioneering sport for persons with a disability and founder of the Paralympic Movement, in 2004.

The Awards will be presented by Sir Philip Craven as one of his final acts as IPC President at the Paralympic Sport and Media Awards on 7th September 2017.

Speaking of Paul and Karl’s contributions, as well as fellow recipient, Secretary General, Gerard Masson of IWAS Member, Fédération Française Handisport, he said; ‘It will be a great honour for me to present the Paralympic Order to three individuals who have dedicated their lives to developing the Paralympic Movement, playing influential roles. Between them they have dedicated more than 100 years to the Paralympic Movement at various levels making a monumental impact.’


IWAS President, Paul DePace

Having begun his journey in the Paralympic Movement in 1968 as an athlete in powerlifting, wheelchair basketball and field athletics, Paul soon began turning his passion for sport to coaching and event management.

In 1992, Paul led Team USA as Chef de Mission to the Barcelona Paralympic Games and sat on the Board of Directors for the Atlanta Paralympic Games Organizing Committee (1993 -1996).

In 1998, following his involvement on the international stage, Paul was elected as Vice-President of the International Stoke Mandeville Wheelchair Sports Federation, soon becoming President in 2001. Paul remains the President of IWAS focused on the international promotion of sports for athletes with physical impairments from grassroots to elite participation.

IWAS CEO, Charmaine Hooper said, “Paul has witnessed the development and growth of the Paralympic Movement from many perspectives; including an athlete, coach, Chef de Mission and now International Federation and IOSD President through more than four decades. Due to Paul’s broad involvement, he has a unique insight which has allowed him to influence policy and direction with experience and balance. Many congratulations, Paul!”

IWAS Vice-President, Karl Vilhelm Nielsen

Karl’s journey in the Paralympic movement, has seen him compete in three Paralympic Games to being Vice-President of an International Federation and Chairman of an NPC.

Karl’s official involvement began in 1974 when he joined the Danish Sports Organization for the Disabled Executive Board. Five years on, he was appointed as Chairman where he remains to this day, 37 years later.

Karl also saw his passion for the promotion of the Paralympic Movement move outside of Denmark and into the international scene in 1984 where he became Vice-President of International Stoke Mandeville Wheelchair Sport Federation. Following the amalgamation which created IWAS, Karl has served since 2003 as a Board Member and as of 2009 to the present day remains Vice-President of IWAS.

IWAS CEO, Charmaine Hooper said, ‘Karl has been an extremely active member of the Paralympic movement for more than four decades both on the international stage as well as in his home nation of Denmark. Karl’s unwavering athlete-focused approach throughout his career has had a great impact on the operations and direction of Para sport for the organisations that have been lucky enough to have him involved, including IWAS.’ 

On behalf of the IWAS Membership, Executive Board, Wheelchair Fencing, Powerchair Hockey and Headquarters staff, we would like to wish all recipients our sincerest congratulations on the receipt of this Order.