At one time the only involvement that dwarfs had in sport, especially in schools or colleges would be as a mascot or kit/water monitors. Participation in school for dwarfs is not equal with their average height friends; not being able to run as fast, reach as far or throw as far. This would have an adverse effect on the dwarf person, leading to exclusion, low self-esteem and no sense of achievement. This in many ways would be carried over into everyday life resulting in low aspirations in all walks of life.
It was realised that any participation in sport for dwarfs would need to be on an equal footing. Dwarf Sport was the way to go and the DAAA came into being, followed by DAAUK, IDSF now newly formed IDSF and associations in countries around the world. It then became very clear that the effect on the dwarf athlete was a positive one, leading to inclusion and a lifting of self-esteem as well as gaining a sense of achievement. Since those early days, there have been many National, International and World Dwarf Games; countries in many parts of the World forming teams and associations to further the aims of Dwarf Sports.
This started to change lives, not only in sport but in everyday life. A positive change was becoming apparent in the person with dwarfism not only in their sport aspirations, but it flowed through to their future education and employment. Many dwarfs now take courses and careers in sport-related professions, sports management, events management, sports teaching, training, coaching, physiotherapy and sports psychology; all of which educates the wider sector of society that people with dwarfism love their sport and can achieve. We now have many dwarfs from around the world reaching Paralympic levels and all because they were able to compete on that equal footing in sport.
I do not think this would have happened if it were not for that realisation in the beginning, to level the playing field for dwarfs in sport; all this achieved by a group of dwarf people, parents and professionals working together to make it happen.
These Rules for dwarf sport have been developed over many years. However, it does not stop here. This development will carry on for many more years to come; taking into account the experiences of many dwarf athletes from all around the world along with the professional expertise of the many friends we find and encourage to be involved.
I would like to thank all those people who have given of their time commitment and passion in making Dwarf Sports what it is today. We come together as athletes of many different ages, to participate and compete in a sport with each other in true sportsmanship and fair play, to gain a lifting of self-esteem, a sense of achievement and a feeling of self-worth.
President IDSF (International Dwarf Sports Federation)