2020 Tokyo Paralympics
The Tokyo Summer Olympics have ended with Team GB achieving one of their best ever medal hauls, a total of 65 medals: 22 golds, 21 silvers and 22 bronze. Now Team GB’s 51 Paralympic athletes are flying over to Japan to compete in the 16th Paralympics which start on the 24th August. There will be 537 events in 22 sports, badminton and taekwondo being added for the first time. Team GB will be competing in every sport. The games will be shown on Channel 4.
Interesting facts about Paralympic team sports:
- Goalball: This is one of the few team sports which requires a particular qualification to take part: all players must have a visual impairment and to ensure this, all players must wear a blackout mask. During the game cheering is not allowed and the court is silent to allow players to hear the ball.
- Football 5-a-side: All players must also have a visual impairment in 5-a-side football, although all the outfield players wear eye shades to make sure they compete on equal terms. The players also must shout ‘VOY’ whenever they tackle to help prevent injuries when possible.
- Para-athletics: This sport has been part of the Games since 1960. All the athletes’ group together according to their classification in each event. Team GB will have 10 athletes competing in different sports.
- Rowing: Team GB rowing team consists of 8 members and the coxed four is the only ‘rowing’ event. All the others are sculling events, where each member uses two oars rather than one.
- Sitting volleyball: The game requires players to maintain contact with the floor at all times, in addition, blocking of the serve is allowed. As a result, Sitting Volleyball is faster than the Olympic indoor game.
- Wheelchair Basketball: The game is broadly similar to the Olympics basketball game with the same size of the court and basket height. Players are required to throw or bounce the ball every two pushes of the wheels to avoid getting penalised. Team GB has 24 players altogether for both the mens and womens teams.
- Wheelchair Rugby: Unlike conventional rugby this is played indoors, with 4 people for each team and with a white ball that is identical to volleyball.
- Wheelchair Tennis: It is played like the Olympics tennis, but with a few different rules. One for example is “two-bounce-rule” meaning the ball has to be returned before the third bounce.