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Athletics at the Summer Paralympics


Athletics at the Summer Paralympics

Athletics at the Summer Paralympics
Governing body IPC
Events 160 (men: 100; women: 60)
1960 1964 1968 1972 1976 1980
1984 1988 1992 1996 2000 2004
2008 2012 2016

Athletics has been contested at every Summer Paralympics since the first games in 1960. Men and women from all disability groups compete in the sport.

Some athletes use wheelchairs or prosthetic limbs.

Visually impaired athletes participate in running events with the help of a sighted guide, to whom they may be attached by a tether. Sound-emitting devices or a sighted "caller" are used to indicate target areas for throwing events, take-off points for jumping events, and other important locations for visually impaired competitors.[1]


Athletes compete in various classes which group them according to their impairments and abilities.

Class Criteria
T/F11 From no light perception at all in either eye, up to and including the ability to perceive light; inability to recognize objects or contours in any direction and at any distance.
T/F12 Ability to recognise objects up to a distance of 2 metres i.e. below 2/60 and/or visual field of less than five (5) degrees
T/F13 Can recognise contours between 2 and 6 metres away i.e. 2/60 O 6/60 and visual field of more than five (5) degrees and less than twenty (20) degrees.
T/F20 Athletes who have a recognised intellectual impairment according to international standards as recognised by the World Health Organisation i.e. IQ testing of 75 and below.
T/F33 Moderate quadriplegia. Fair functional strength and moderate problems in upper extremities and torso. Wheelchair for daily activities but may be ambulant with assistive devices.
T/F34 Moderate to severe problems in lower limbs, good functional strength and minimal control problems in upper limbs and torso. Wheelchair for daily activities but may be ambulant with assistive devices
T/F35 Good functional strength and minimal control problems in upper limbs. No wheelchair. May or may not use assistive devices.
T/F36 Greater upper limb involvement, less coordination / balance problems when running or throwing. Ambulates without walking devices.
T/F37 Moderate to minimal hemiplegia (i.e. one half of the body affected - arm and leg on same side). Good functional ability in non affected side. Walks / runs without assistive devices, but with a limp.
T/F38 Minimal hemiplegia. May have minimal coordination problems, good balance. Runs and jumps freely
T40 Dwarfism. Height limit, Males 145cm, Females 140cm.
T42 Single leg, above or through knee amputation. Combined lower plus upper limb amputations. Minimal disability.
T43 Double leg, below knee amputation. Combined lower plus upper limb amputations. Normal function in throwing arm.
T44 Single leg below knee amputation. Combined lower plus upper limb amputations. Ambulant with moderately reduced function in one or both lower limbs
T45 Double arm above elbow. Double arm below elbow
T46 Single arm, above elbow. Single arm, below elbow. Normal function in both lower limbs. Other impairments in trunk. Upper limb function in throwing.
T52 Damage to spinal cord in the higher parts of the back. Substantially impaired or no trunk function; no leg function. Pushing power comes from elbow extensions.
T53 Impaired trunk movements, some with no spinal control. Some interference in their ability to perform long and forceful strokes and the ability to rapidly grasp and release the pushing rim of the wheel.
T54 Have normal or nearly normal upper limb function. May have no upper trunk movements and when pushing, the trunk is usually lying on the legs. Those with almost normal trunk function are able to perform long and forceful strokes. Double above the knee amputations.
F52 Limited arm function. Difficulty gripping with non-throwing arm.

Shot - Unable to form a fist and therefore do not usually have finger contact with the shot at the release point. Discus - Have difficulty placing fingers over the edge of the discus. Javelin - Usually grip the Javelin between the index and middle fingers, or between the middle and ring fingers.

F53 Have nearly normal grip with non-throwing arm.

Shot - Usually a good fist can be made. Can spread fingers apart and can 'grasp' the shot put when throwing. Discus - Have good finger function to hold the discus and may be able to impart spin on the discus. Are able to spread and close the fingers, but not with normal power. Javelin - Usually grip javelin between the thumb and the index finger. Have ability to hold javelin.

F54 Normal arm function; no trunk or leg function.

Shot, Discus and Javelin - Have no sitting balance and usually hold onto part of chair whilst throwing

F55 Some trunk function; no leg function. Fair to good sitting balance.
F56 Trunk function with some upper leg function. Good balance and movements backwards and forwards.
F57 Usually one 'good' leg and one 'bad' leg. Good movements backwards and forwards, usually to one side. Can raise from a sitting to a standing position with assistance during the throw.
F58 Seated. Better function than F57 athletes, but not enough to stand to throw. Usually similar impairment in both legs.


See also

  • Marathon at the Paralympics


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