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Parapan Am Games: 17 things you didn't know

Do you know what a travel is in wheelchair basketball? Or what goalball is? A total of 15 sports will take place at the Parapan Am Games in Toronto. Here are some little-known facts about some of these sports you may have never heard.

There will be 445 events in 15 sports

Canada's Whitney Bogart will take part in the sports of goalball, an event that was invented in 1946 as a rehabilitation sport for blind World War II veterans. ( Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Do you know what a travel is in wheelchair basketball? Or what goalball is? 

The Parapan Am Games are bringing 15 sports to the city of Toronto, which are rarely competed at such a high level in Canada. Here are some little-known facts about some of these sports you may have never heard. 

  • All sports at the 2015 Parapan Am Games are qualifiers for Rio 2016.

  • There will be 445 events in 15 sports happening in Toronto, the most ever for a Parapan American Games.

  • Hitting the target in archery is the equivalent to releasing the arrow from centre field of a baseball diamond and hitting a smart phone at home plate. 
  • A Parapan Am cyclist's bicycle has no brakes and only one gear.
  • In football 5-a-side the goalkeeper is the only sighted/partially-sighted player. The other four athletes are visually impaired. A goalkeeper gives out instructions to his/her teammates, who all wear eyeshades to create an equal field of play.
  • Football 7-a-side is played by athletes with cerebral palsy or other neurological disorders.
  • Only athletes with visual impairment play goalball. That is why a goalball has bells inside it, so players can hear where it is.
  • Goalball was invented in 1946 as a rehabilitation sport for blind World War II veterans.
  • Spectators are asked to remain silent during gameplay in both goalball and football (both 5 and 7 side) so that players can hear what's happening on the field.
  • In judo, a judoka (competitor) needs to make contact with their opponent before the match begins. The process where the opponents grab each other's grip is called "kumikata".
  • To ensure fair competition in a sitting volleyball match, a team can have only one minimally disabled (MD) player on the court at the time. The remaining five players are in the sport class of disabled (D).
  • Para-swimmers with different impairments compete against each other, because sport classes are allocated based on the impact the impairment has on swimming, rather than on the impairment itself.
  • In wheelchair basketball, a player must throw or bounce the ball after every two pushes of their wheelchair. Otherwise, it's a travel.
  • The size of the court and the height of the net is the same in wheelchair basketball as it is in able-bodied basketball.
  • Wheelchair rugby makes its debut in the 2015 Parapan Am Games.
  • Wheelchair rugby's roots are Canadian. The sport was originally named "Murderball."
  • Wheelchair tennis uses the same court and rules as able-bodied tennis, except that two bounces are allowed.

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