What's it all about?
With all the sports and skill on display, para athletics has something for everybody! With so many amazing athletes showing off their skills, you will have lots of options to pick from! Let’s check it out.
How it's played
The teams: In track relay events, mixed teams of four racers compete. Runners with visual impairments may have guides and visually impaired field athletes might have callers. Otherwise, para athletics are individual sports, meaning they are done alone.
The three divisions: Track is all about the races, field is jumping and throwing and marathons are races that go for longer distances and time. (Check out the photos below!)
The skill: Be the fastest, jump the highest or longest distance and throw the farthest!
The equipment: Different stuff for different events like helmets, gloves, and specially designed three-wheeled chairs for some races; batons for track relay events; high jump bar and mat for high jump — and lots more!
The sport classes: For fairness, events are split into classes based on level of impairment. Athletes compete against other athletes with similar ability.
The athletes: They need extreme focus, explosive energy, stamina and overall body strength!
Did you know: In wheelchair races, the winner is the athlete whose front wheel crosses the finish line first. It is measured from the centre of the front wheel, to be exact!
Things to watch for
- Visually impaired runners can choose to run with a guide if they need help with directions and other important information.
- They sometimes hold a tether with their hands or fingers to make sure they stay together for the race.
- The runner, not the guide, must be the first one to cross the finish line!
- An event unique to para athletics.
- Athletes throw a bowling pin-shaped club as far as they can.
- They choose whatever way they want to throw the club, facing forwards or backwards!
- Long races of 42.195 kilometres done by athletes with visual impairments and by athletes in wheelchairs.
- Visually impaired athletes can use guide runners.
- Specially designed racing three-wheeled chairs are used by those in wheelchairs.