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5 Most Popular Paralympic Sports

As Japan prepares to host the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo next summer, disabled athletes are preparing for the Paralympics as well, which will also be held in Tokyo from August 25 to September 6. It will be the 16th edition of this significant multi-sports event. 

In 2020, there are 22 Paralympic events, including goalball, sitting volleyball, and wheelchair basketball for both men and women. Men’s football and wheelchair rugby will be held as a mixed sport for both men and women. As in previous Paralympics, athletes will travel to venues in mobility van conversions, which accommodates disabled athletes along with those who require a wheelchair.

The International Paralympic Committee is predicting that 4,400 athletes will compete in the Tokyo games for 537 medal events.

History of Paralympics

The very first Paralympic competition for athletes with disabilities began in 1948 for British World War II veterans who had spinal cord injuries. In 1988, the Paralympic Games competition began In Seoul using Olympic venues. As the years passed, the size and scope of the games increased to include many sports for non-ambulatory athletes. Conversion vans are in use today to shuttle athletes around venues and living quarters. 

Tokyo is working hard to make the city more accessible for both athletes and disabled visitors. At many of the Olympic and Paralympic venues, conversion vans will be used to help transport disabled people requiring wheelchair accessible transportation. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is working to promote barrier-free facilities and remove all obstacles that might impede people with disabilities.

New Paralympic Sporting Events

Six exciting new sporting events will debut in the 2020 Paralympic Program, including amputee football, basketball for intellectually impaired athletes, electric wheelchair hockey, Para-badminton, Para-taekwondo, and Powerchair football. It is hoped that the upcoming 2020 Paralympics will send a key message of inclusiveness throughout Asia, building on previous successful Games in the area.

Top Paralympic Sports of All Time

From archery to wheelchair tennis, there are games for everyone to enjoy and compete in regardless of disabilities. There are both team competitions as well as individual sports where athletes can compete for medals in their respective sports. 

Athletics offers a combination of track and field events for men and women with a wide range of disabilities or impairment. Athletics are played by both individuals and teams and was one of the original games at the beginning back in 1960. Athletes from more than 120 countries participate in athletics, which makes it the most practiced Paralympic sport. 

Swimming is one of the most popular sports and has been around since the first Paralympics – the 1960 games in Rome. More than 500 athletes from over 70 countries compete in swimming events, which are available to athletes who have physical, intellectual, or visual impairments. Several modifications are made for the athletes, depending on their level of disability. 

Wheelchair basketball is another one of the top competitive sports and has been around since the first Paralympic games in 1960. Both men and women play the sport on a court that’s the same size as the one at the Olympics, with the same basket height as well. Scoring is similar to Olympic basketball, including two-point shots, three-point shots and one point for free throws. 

Road Cycling is another favorite sport and features both road events and stadium racing for men and women. The Paralympic athletes compete using the same cycling rules that are in the traditional Olympic games. Road cycling includes time trails, individual and team road races, and sprints.

Wheelchair rugby is another exciting sport that is played during the final weekend of the Paralympics. It’s often referred to as “murderball” because of the level of intensity the Paralympic athlete’s display. It was first played in 1996 in Athens and has grown in popularity since.  

Other top sports include table tennis, archery, shooting, rowing, and many other sports. With a legacy spanning 50 years, the 2020 Paralympic games will provide excitement for all athletes and spectators alike.