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Tokyo 2020 Paralympics

25 things you should know know about the Tokyo Paralympics

Here are 25 interesting facts and info about the Tokyo Paralympics

Tokyo Paralympics

Tokyo Paralympics


Ananth Narasimman

Updated: 25 Aug 2021 12:51 PM GMT

With the 16th edition of the Summer Paralympics kicking off in Tokyo, we have collected 25 facts and key pieces of information for you to stay updated about the Games and its history.

1) This is the 16th Summer Paralympic Games
Despite the challenges posed by the Pandemic, supreme effort and planning by the International Paralympic Committee has made it possible to conduct the 16th edition of the Summer Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

The Paralympics Logo (Source: IPC)

2) This is Tokyo's second Summer Paralympic Games
Tokyo would be the first city to get the privilege of hosting the games twice after hosting their first Summer Paralympic Games in 1964.

Tokyo's second Paralympics

3) The Paralympic Games were founded in 1960 by Sir Ludwig Guttman
The event was created by the Jewish doctor to help with the rehabilitation of World War II veterans. The Games initially began as a recreational and rehabilitation event before it turned competitive.

A doodle of Sir Ludwig Guttman

4) The first official Games was held in Rome in 1960
From 400 athletes with disabilities from 23 countries at Rome in 1960 to 4,400 participants from 137 countries in Tokyo, the Paralympic Games have indeed come a long way in the last 61 years.

The first Paralympics in Rome

5) Where does the word Paralympics stem from?
The word Paralympics stems from the Greek word para, meaning alongside or next to and not the merging of the words paralysis and Olympics, contrary to popular belief.

6) The Paralympics have four core values which they stick with to date since the inception of the games
The values at the core of the Paralympics are courage, inspiration, determination and equality.

7) Two new sports to be introduced
The Tokyo Paralympics will see the sports Para-Badminton and Para-Taekwondo being introduced for the first time.

The introduction of Badminton at the games is bound to give us some exciting matchups

8) Less populated nations like Bhutan and Guyana to make their debut
This year will see lesser populated nations like Bhutan and Guyana make their debuts at the grandest stage. Bhutan will have three athletes competing, but Guyana will have one. This move is a good sign that the Games is trending in the right direction.

The Bhutanese contingent

9) Tokyo Paralympics to exceed Rio 2016 in terms of participation
The Tokyo Paralympics will exceed Rio 2016 in terms of the number of National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) set to take part in the Paralympic Games

10) Five new NPC's to participate in the Paralympics for the first time
Bhutan, Grenada, Maldives, Paraguay, St Vincent and the Grenadines will compete for the first time in the Paralympic Games at Tokyo 2020. All are beneficiaries of the IPC's NPC Development Programme.

11) There are 22 sports in this year's edition of the Games
There will be 22 Paralympic sports to look forward to at the Tokyo Paralympics in 2021, including archery, rowing, swimming, athletics and judo and the new sports of badminton and taekwondo.

12) Likely increase in TV viewership
The 2016 Rio Paralympics set mammoth records for viewership, attracting a TV audience of more than 4.1 Billion people from more than 150 countries. This was a 7% increase from the 3.8 Billion people that tuned in to watch the 2012 London Paralympics. This year is likely to fetch more viewership.

13) Who is a guide runner and what is their role?
Runners at the Paralympics have guide runners to help them. They must finish in front of them to win and are tethered to them with a small arm strap.

A guide and a para-track athlete have a bond that results in more than just the guide providing sight

14) India's contingent for Tokyo Paralympics is nearly thrice as large as that of Rio 2016
This year, 54 Indian athletes will compete across nine sports like archery, para canoeing, athletics, shooting, table tennis, swimming, badminton, powerlifting and taekwondo. The contingent for the Rio Olympics in 2016 was 19.

15) Rowing has decided to make it harder for athletes
The course has doubled the 1000m race to 2000m for Tokyo, making it harder for the athletes. Expect a brilliant race to the finish due to this decision.


16) Brazil look to continue their domination in football at the Paralympics
Brazil looks to continue their dominant streak as they remain undefeated in football five-a-side since the sport's debut at the Athen's Games in 2004.

The dominant Brazilian 5-aside team

17) Medals to be recognizable by touch for the visually impaired athletes
The organizers have ensured medals are recognisable by touch to help visually impaired athletes. The medals are inscribed with a series of indentations included on the side of the middle. One indent Teishan is a gold medal, two silver and three a bronze. Brielle also spells out Tokyo 2020.

The medals with indents to help the visually impaired recognize them

18) A repair shop to fix your gear in a jiffy
A technical repair centre has been built at the Games to repair and maintain wheelchairs, prosthetics, and other relevant equipment. The shop includes 100 specialists from around the world.

Repair shops to help the para-athletes fix their gear in a jiffy (Source: AP News)

19) The Paralympics has the second tallest man in the world competing in it

Morteza Mehrza is a sitting volleyball player and is the second tallest man in the world with a height of 2.46 meters. He also won gold at the Rio Paralympics with his Iran teammates.

Iranian Morteza Mehrza with his teammates

20) India has the youngest Chef De Mission at the Tokyo Paralympics
India's Bagati is the youngest deputy chef de mission at Tokyo Paralympic. Bagati might be wearing a few diverse hats at the moment, but he is in for the long haul in his association with PCI and para-sports.

Arhan Bagati

21) Para-Athlete Tek Chand replaced Mariyappan Thangavelu as India's flagbearer after the latter was asked to quarantine

Tek Chand receives the honour of being the flag bearer after Mariyappan Thangavelu being asked to quarantine

22) At Tokyo, India will have not one but two former gold medallists
Both Devendra Jhajharia and Mariyappan Thangavelu are back to defend their Rio 2016 titles.

The legendary Mariyappan Thangavelu

American Paralympic Swimmer Trischa Zorn is the most decorated Olympian in history with a total of 57 medals including 41 gold medals, nine silver and seven bronze.

American Paralympic Swimmer Trischa Zorn

24) Hungarian Fencer holds the record for winning at both the Olympics and Paralympics

Pal Szekeres won a bronze medal at the Seoul Olympics in 1988 and also won medals at the Atlanta Paralympic Games (Gold in foil individual and sabre individual) and bronze at the Athens, Sydney, and Beijing Paralympics hence becoming Hungary's most successful Paralympian

Hungarian Fencer Pal Szekeres Pal

25) Gunning for gold
A Paralympic shooter has to have a sharp, eagle-eyed vision as the bullseye is only 0.05 cm wide, almost equal to the size of a full stop on a piece of paper.
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