The world’s top para-athletes are all set to start their event tonight in Japan amidst the increase of Covid cases in Japan. The flag of Afghanistan will be used as a symbol of “solidarity and peace” in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. The 16th Summer Paralympics was delayed by a year due to the pandemic. Here are the things you need to know about the Paralympics
About the Olympics
The Paralympic Games or Paralympics are a periodic series of international multi-sport events involving athletes with a range of disabilities, including impaired muscle power, impaired passive range of movement, limb deficiency, leg length difference, Vision impairment, and intellectual impairment.
Up to 4,400 athletes from around the world are set to compete across 539 individual events in 22 para-sports at 21 different venues. The total number of expected athletes is around the same as the number of athletes who competed at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio, which involved competitors from 160 different countries.
These numbers have steadily risen since the first official Paralympics in 1960 in Rome. It involved 400 athletes from 23 countries. Organizers say the Paralympic Games is the largest event worldwide for driving social change and inclusion.
Tokyo Paralympic 2020 sport events
A total of 22 sports will be contested at the Games, including new additions to badminton and taekwondo. Most sports are common to the Olympics and Paralympics, including athletics and swimming.
Some that feature in both Games involves modifications in their Paralympic form, like wheelchair rugby. Two sports, boccia and goalball, are unique to the Paralympics.
Criteria for para-sports
Paralympians compete in different categories within a given sport based on their particular impairment.
The Paralympic movement covers 10 impairment types that fall broadly into three categories: physical impairments, vision impairment, and intellectual impairment. Some sports are open to athletes in all categories, while others are reserved for specific impairments.
Within each category, athletes are assessed to see whether they meet a minimum impairment level, to ensure a fair playing field.
In some sports like athletics, they are placed in a certain sports class, again pitting them against athletes with similar impairments to ensure equity. Athletes may be reclassified over their lifetime as their situation changes.