The biggest fraud in Paralympic Games history

International sporting events witness a mixture of events. Joyful moments of hard work rewarded with medals, emotional moments of reward failure, and conspiracies involving fraud and cheating. Today, let’s look back at the biggest and lowest act of cheating committed on the world stage of the Paralympic Games.

At the Sydney Paralympic Games in 2000, Spain won gold in basketball, beating Russia with a score of 87-63. The 12-member team rejoiced and proudly wore gold and accepted bouquets of flowers and appreciation. However, behind all the pompous celebrations lurked an insensitive con artist.

Carlos Ribagorda, an undercover journalist and one of the members of the Spanish basketball team, revealed the truth about the winning team when they arrived at their home port. Players were able to compete in the Sydney Paralympic Games because they claimed to have an intellectual disability (ID).

However, Carlos denounced the complaint and published an article that of the 12 players, only two actually suffered from ID, while the other 10 had no disabilities. Carlos also revealed that he was invited to play at the Spanish Paralympic Games, months before the event, despite being disabled by the Spanish Sports Federation for the Mentally Handicapped. And all he had to do to be selected for the team was do six push-ups, according to a report from MamaMia.

Carlos mentioned that in one of the qualifying games the team scored over 30 points in the first half. As a result, the coach ordered the team not to play so well to allay suspicion.

The fraud has sparked a worldwide debate over how Paralympians are selected for sports like basketball. The heckling reached its peak when the committee banned Paralympic ID sports for a decade until they could formulate a method for classifying people with IDs. The ban was lifted at the London Paralympic Games in 2012. However, until then it had destroyed many promising careers, leaving athletes in heartbreak and misery.

In 2013, the former head of the Spanish Federation of Sports for the Mentally Handicapped, Fernando Martin Vicente, was convicted of fraud and was fined $ 7,300 (approx Rs 55 lakh) and was ordered to return approx. $ 200,000 (around Rs 1.5 crores) in government grants for the scandal.

Keywords: Spanish, Spain, Paralympic Games, Paralympic Games, Sydney, 2000, London, 2012, Scandal, Fraud, Carlos Ribagorda, Intellectual disability, Players, Basketball, Cheating, Cheating, Handicap, ID, Sports with mental disabilities

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