When does the Paralympics start?
The Tokyo Paralympics begins on August 24, 2021 and concludes on September 5, 2021 with the tournament starting roughly two weeks after the Summer Olympic Games.
How can you watch the Paralympics here in Australia?
Channel 7 is once again the exclusive broadcaster for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, with live coverage also available on 7Mate and 7Two, and on-demand coverage available via 7plus. Hundreds upon hundreds of hours of athletic action will be streamed via the Channel 7 suite of services, with free-to-air options meaning you won’t have to pay for your viewing pleasures.
The Opening Ceremony for the Paralympics will commence on August 24, and Australian fans will be able to tune in at 9pm AEST to watch the games begin. The Closing Ceremony will take place on Sunday, September 5 from 9pm AEST, with the ceremony being held in the Olympic stadium. Audiences will be able to watch the closing ceremony on Channel 7 and its online platforms.
How do the Paralympics work?
With 539 events and 22 sports on offer at the Tokyo Paralympics, these Games promise to be an entertaining one, but also an informative one. Rules are modified to cater to abilities, so you might just find yourself watching a game of sitting volleyball. As for other sports like track and field, athletes are classified based on their type and degree of impairment. This ensures fair competition by matching up those who have similar conditions, such as missing limbs or visual impairment. The system is also responsible for specifying which assistive tools and technologies they can use. In some instances, athletes will compete in chairs or frames, while others stand. Some, but not all, use prosthetic limbs or straps.
For athletes competing with prosthetics, the start is particularly interesting to watch as you will be able to see some variations between their opponents. Some may start with their prosthetic leg, others with their biological leg on the front starting block. In visually impaired categories, some athletes choose to compete with a guide, which requires incredible communication and coordination skills. For field events, guides can also use audio cues like call-outs and hand-claps to indicate when to stride and when to jump.
Are the wheelchairs different?
For those looking forward to the track and endurance events like the marathon, interest in the wheelchairs is often an immediate thought. Athletes compete in lightweight chairs that are often made of carbon fibre and have been custom-designed for their body measurements and disabilities. Whereas hand cycles operate more like bicycles, racing chairs are solely pushed by athletes using the strength of their arms.
As a result, wheelchair racers require incredible upper-body strength as well as the need to be able to draft and position themselves well in a race. There are tactics, just like cycling and racing, as wheelchair racers can gain an advantage over their opponents based simply on how they position themselves during the race.
A historic moment for Paralympians
Athletes and activists have long championed the importance of sport when it comes to removing the barriers for those with a disability and fighting for their inclusion. Through sport, it’s clear that those with disabilities are capable of anything as athletes at the Paralympic Games have made huge strides when it comes to catching up to their Olympic peers. This is particularly apparent at Tokyo where, for the first year ever, Paralympic medalists will earn the same payout as Olympians - $37,500 USD for gold, $22,500 USD for silver, and $15,000 USD for bronze.
Have any new sports been added to the Paralympic Games?
Following the 2014 meeting with Olympic Committee members, bids for new sports to be added to the roster of current events were allowed and from that emerged two new additions for the 2020 Paralympic Games. Badminton and taekwondo were the new additions, with modified rules implemented so as to be able to cater to different capabilities. As a result of the new additions, 7-a-side football and sailing were dropped.
What is the Paralympics event schedule?
It goes without saying that times for each event are dependent on local broadcasting, so our best advice is to check your local TV guides for all the action. A general breakdown of the Tokyo Paralympics schedule is listed below.
- Opening Ceremony – August 24
- Archery – August 27 to September 4
- Athletics – August 27 to September 5
- Badminton – September 1 to September 5
- Boccia – August 28 to September 4
- Canoe Sprint – September 2 to September 4
- Cycling (Road) – August 31 to September 3
- Cycling (Track) – August 25 to August 28
- Equestrian – August 26 to August 30
- Football 5-a-side – August 29 to September 4
- Goalball – August 25 to September 3
- Judo – August 27 to August 29
- Powerlifting – August 26 to August 30
- Rowing – August 27 to August 29
- Shooting – August 30 to September 5
- Sitting Volleyball – August 27 to September 5
- Swimming – August 25 to September 3
- Table Tennis – August 25 to September 3
- Taekwondo – September 2 to September 4
- Triathlon – August 28 to August 29
- Wheelchair Basketball – August 25 to September 5
- Wheelchair Fencing – August 25 to August 29
- Wheelchair Rugby – August 25 to August 29
- Wheelchair Tennis – August 27 to September 4