The history of The British Amputee & Les Autres Sports Association (BALASA) cannot be looked at in isolation because it was born out of the amalgamation of three different associations. The British Amputee Sports Association (BASA), The British Les Autres Sports Association (BALASA) and the British Amputee and Les Autres Sports Federation (BALASF). The first of these to be formed was BASA. Work started to formalise training weekends held at Stoke Mandeville as long ago as 1979 and in 1982, after a number of drafts, their constitution was accepted by the Charity Commission.
Their roll was to help and encourage amputees to get involved in sport and go on to represent their country in competitions organised by the newly formed International Sports Organisation for the Disabled (ISOD). With BASA in place, all the disabled in this country, Blind, Deaf, Spinal Injured and those with Cerebral Palsy, had a governing body except for people with learning difficulty and those with a loco-motor disability not covered by the aforementioned.
This group was very large and covered ambulant paraplegics, ambulant spina bifida, ambulant polio, achondroplasia, osteogenisis imperfecta, osteoporosis, those suffering from the effect of thalidomide, some road traffic accidents as well as those with a learning disability.
With the help of the The Bristish Sports Association for the Disabled (BSAD) and Disability Sport England as it now is, a steering group of three people, Carl Hodgson, Ivor Mitchell and Michael Pattison, was formed to see if all those with a loco-motor disability in the list above could be brought into one association. The result of this work was the formation of The British Les Autres Sports Association. It’s aim was to get a team of athletes together in time to send it to Oslo in 1981 as part of the International Year for the Disabled.
This, they achieved, but on their return the really hard work started to get the Association formed and a constitution accepted by the Charity Commission. The first National Games were held in 1982 and the constitution accepted in 1983.
Because both BASA and BLASA had to compete internationally within ISOD, and it allowed only one member per country, it became obvious that these two associations should federate.. The delicate task of bringing the two together started around 1985 and resulted in the formation The British Amputee and Les Autres Sports Federation in 1988.
As annual National Games were expensive to stage, it was then decided to run the games of both associations at the same time as “The Federation Games” a title which still survives for the annual competition.
The work of the Federation progressed so well that it soon became obvious that there was a duplication of work and money to keep all three bodies running, so a decision was taken to look at the possibility of bringing all three together.
After many meeting, drafts and consultations, The British Amputee and Les Autres Sports Association was formed in 1996.