As part of an effort to promote support for disabled people and encourage an understanding of disability issues, the annual United Nations’ International Day of Persons with Disabilities is celebrated on 3 December.
More than one billion people around the world – around 15% of the global population – have some form of disability. Nevertheless, the world's largest minority group faces many barriers to inclusion in key aspects of society, including discrimination and stigma.
Over the years Guinness World Records has been witness to some of the most impressive and awe-inspiring record attempts by people with disabilities. Here we highlight ten such feats, achieved by people whose disabilities proved no obstacle to them making their own piece of history...
1. First disabled athlete to compete at an Olympic Games
Gymnast George Eyser (USA, b. Germany, 31 August 1870, d. unknown) competed at the 1904 Olympic Games in St Louis, USA, with a prosthetic wooden left leg. He won six medals in one day - three gold (rope climbing, vault, parallel bars), two silver (pommel horse, combined event - parallel bars, horizontal bar, vault, pommel horse) and one bronze (horizontal bar) to become not only the first athlete with a disability to compete at an Olympic Games but also the first disabled medallist.
The most manual wheelchair spins in one minute is 66 and was achieved by Stephen Rainey (UK) in Liverpool, UK, on 23 July 2015. The attempt took place at Lifehouse, Brunswick Docks and was part of an event to raise awareness of services available to local residents requiring wheelchair services.
3. Shortest woman living – non-mobile
Madge Bester (South Africa) (b. 26 April 1963), is only 65 cm (25.5 in) tall. She suffers from Osteogenesis imperfecta (characterised by brittle bones and other deformities of the skeleton) and is confined to a wheelchair. A prominent campaigner for disabled rights, in 1998 she traveled to Taiwan to meet Lin Yih-Chih, the then shortest living man. The two had come together to speak out on behalf of the world's disabled. On arrival, Ms. Bester was quoted as saying: "My message to you is to take charge of your life. Forget your disabilities and use your abilities."
4. Fastest swim 400 m freestyle - S6 (female)
Eleanor "Ellie" Simmonds (UK) smashed the women's 400 metres freestyle world record with a swim of 5 min 19.17 sec at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, UK, on 1 September 2012. Simmonds, who also won gold in the 200 metres individual medley (again in a record time) at London 2012, competes in a class for swimmers with a physical impairment. Her incredible accomplishment earned her a place in the Guinness World Records 2015 book.
5. Longest journey by mouth controlled motorised wheelchair
Chang-Hyun Choi (South Korea) set a record for the longest continuous journey by mouth controlled motorised wheelchair, travelling an incredible 28,000 km (17,398 miles) between 10 May 2006 and 6 December 2007. Chang, who is affected by cerebral palsy and is paralysed from the neck down, travelled at a maximum speed of 13 km/h (8 mph) across 35 countries in Europe and the Middle East.
6. Highest ramp jump by wheelchair
The highest ramp jump on a wheelchair is 60 cm and was achieved by Aaron Fotheringham (USA) on the set of Italian TV show "Lo Show dei Record" in Rome, Italy, on 24 March 2010. Aaron has been in a wheelchair since the age of 13 as he suffers from spina biffida.
7. First landed wheelchair backflip
Before that, Aaron successfully landed the first wheelchair backflip at Doc Romeo skate park in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, on 25 October 2008.
8. Fastest swim 50 m butterfly - S5 (male)
Daniel Dias (Brazil) swam the 50 metres butterfly (S5) in 34.15 seconds at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, UK, on 7 September. Dias, who won more gold medals (six) at the London Paralympics than any other male swimmer, competes in a classification for athletes with a physical impairment.
9. Longest journey on crutches
The longest journey on crutches is 6,006.03 km (3,731.97 mi) and was achieved by Guy Amalfitano (France) beginning in Orthez, France, on 16 March 2013 and returning back to Orthez, France, on 6 September 2013. During his journey, Guy Amalfitano travelled a total of 175 days, averaging 32 km (19.88 miles) each day.
10. Heaviest aircraft pulled over 100 m by a wheelchair (team)
Blijf Actief (Belgium) hauled a record for the heaviest aircraft pulled over 100 m by a team of wheelchair users at Melsbroek Air Base in Brussels, Belgium, on 29 May 2011. The plane weighed a whopping 67.19 tonnes (148,128.59 lb). The participants consisted of 84 connected individuals who pulled a 'C-130 Hercules' non-stop for nearly four minutes.