paralympics
Para Athletics

© IOC

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

Things to watch for

a guide and runner are connected by a red cord that they both hold on to
Misato Michishita of Japan and hew guide finish the women's marathon at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Guide runners
  • 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!
Close-up of an athlete throwing the club
Ireland's Catherine O'Neill competes in the women's club throw classification final at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. (Toby Melville/Reuters)
Club throw
  • 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!
two athletes compete in the marathon in special tricycles
Kurt Fearnley of Australia and Marcel Hug of Switzerland compete in the Men's marathon at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. (Alexandre Loureiro/Getty Images)
Marathons
  • 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.