With 540 individual events across 22 summer Paralympic disciplines, you could be forgiven for missing a few. Here we pick the events that you should really make sure you get to see…

Athletics

Take your pick from the women’s 100m, 200m, 400m or 800m in T34 or T53 (and other) classifications. The wheelchair racing events are an incredible spectacle of skill, power and speed. From a British perspective, Hannah Cockroft has been right at the top since 2012 but now has new talents such as Samantha Kinghorn and Kare Adenegan giving serious chase.

Athletics isn’t just about the track. Field events can be just as intense as each javelin thrower or shot putter inches closer to their best with every throw. Our pick of the field events is the long jump which combines elements of sprint and the power of the launch in one fluid and dynamic movement. Look out for British athletes, Stef Reid and Olivia Breen.

Image credit: imagecomms

Para canoe sprint

Para canoeists race over 200m. Clearly, it’s a discipline that requires strength and stamina but good paddling techniques and balance are also crucial to success. 

The sport made its Paralympic debut at Rio 2016. ParalympicsGB topped the medals table with a haul including three golds from Emma Wiggs, Jeanette Chippington and Anne Dickins. 

Athletes race in two types of boat, kayak (K) and va’a (V). The kayak is propelled by a double-blade paddle, while the va’a is an outrigger canoe with a second pontoon (like a catamaran) with athletes using a single-blade paddle. 

Wheelchair basketball

A crowd favourite at Paralympic Games. The men’s ParalympicsGB team will want to make it through to the final after winning a bronze medal at Rio 2016, though they haven’t been in a final since Atlanta 1996 when they were beaten by Australia.

Wheelchair basketball is very similar to the original able-bodied version – but better! Rules such as a maximum team possession time of 24 seconds simply mean that it’s more frantic and exciting watch.

Cycling

Track cycling will take place at the Izu Velodrome and road cycling will take place onthe Fuji Speedway, which is ordinarily a motorsport racetrack. 

Most track events are either sprints or pursuits over relatively short distances. With cycles at full pelt on a curved wooden track and a good crowd, indoor cycling can be pretty intense. 

In either the velodrome or on the track, watch out for the B classification, for visually impaired cyclists (who compete on tandem bikes with a sighted pilot) or the C1-C5 classifications for athletes with cerebral palsy, amputees and other conditions who can ride a bike.

Image credit: imagecomms

Taekwondo

The profile of martial arts in Japan is much bigger than it is in Europe. Martial arts in Japan are highly respected for their ‘bushido’ virtues of loyalty, discipline, compassion, and devotion to duty. This stretches back into Japanese heritage although martial arts are certainly not seen as outdated. 

Taekwondo is not a Japanese martial art but is likely to be enthusiastically welcomed by the home crowd as it makes its debut as a Paralympic sport, particularly given its reputation as a fast-moving, spirited discipline.

Paralympic Images: Copyright onEdition 2016©

Tokyo 2020, Games Schedule

For two weeks, the eyes of the world will be fixed on the Tokyo Paralympics. Every day of the Games is more than likely to bring you great moments, new triumphs and  new superstars. Watch this space…

Not just about sport…

Although the Paralympic Games is a showcase for the talents of elite disabled athletes, there’s more to it than simply sport. The opening and closing ceremonies usually bookend the competition with spectacular displays that celebrate the host’s culture as well as formal parts such as the lighting of the Paralympic flame from the torch relay and the athletes’ promise, to compete within the rules and the traditional spirit of the Games.

Athletes from across the globe enter the Paralympic stadium in an impressive procession, culminating with the host team, traditionally entering last.

The closing ceremony, by contrast is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the Games and to pass the responsibility of the Paralympics to the next host city – in this case it’ll be Paris 2024.

For full details of the schedule, visit: 

olympics.com/tokyo-2020/en/paralympics/schedule/ 

NB: The competition schedule has been amended following the postponement of the Paralympic Games and may be subject to change.