Competition Explained

At Special Olympics GB, our focus is on ability not disability. 

Our competitions are for people with intellectual disabilities or learning disabilities.  

They are non-elite and open to ALL abilities thanks to an inclusive ability banding system called Divisioning.  

This means we are able to offer our athletes the chance to compete among those with similar ability. 

Competition levels range from come and try or informal events to local, regional, national and international competitions. 

Special Olympics GB offers a fair and progressive, Competition Advancement Pathway in which an athlete can progress up to the next level after having competed in previous levels.  For more information on all of this, please see below and our Guide To Competition. 

To progress through the Special Olympics competition pathway an individual must be a registered, active member of an accredited Special Olympics GB programme.

Any Special Olympics GB athlete from the age of eight can take part in a range of competitions across a wide variety of 27 individual or team sports. 

To see a full list of sports on offer please click HERE 

To see our upcoming competition opportunities please visit our events calendar HERE

“Since joining Special Olympics my life is different because I feel special for being chosen to play. Like someone else not just my family think I can do it. It makes me happy. I am most proud of my family and getting a gold medal at the Sheffield National Summer Games for 3 on 3 women’s basketball.”
By Abigail from Leicestershire and Rutland, West Midlands Region

If you are interested in hosting your own competition, then please complete the online sanction form HERE

There is a printable checklist within the Guide to Competition to support you through the application. 

If you have any questions regarding competition, please email any queries to