Athletics has been part of the Paralympic
Games since 1960 and offers a wide range of competitions and events. It is open to male
and female athletes in all impairment groups. Classifications start with “T” for track
or “F” for field. Track events include all distances from 100m
through to marathon, as well as high jump, long jump and triple jump.
Field events include, discus, shot put, javelin and the club throw which is unique to para-athletics.
This is followed by a double-digit number. The first number indicates the type of impairment,
and the second number indicates the degree. The lower the second number, the greater the
impact of the impairment on the athlete’s ability to do track or field events.
T and F 11-13 are for athletes with a visual impairment Rope tethers or other devices may be used
by runners to link with their sighted guides. Only in the last 10m can they be apart and
the athlete must finish ahead of the guide runner or face disqualification.
An assistant may be used to act as a caller to provide acoustic orientation to indicate
take-off in jumping events or throwing target areas. T20 athletes have an intellectual impairment. In the T thirties, athletes have a co-ordination
impairment, such as cerebral palsy. T32-34 compete in wheelchair racing, and F31-34
in seated throws, whilst T and F35-38 compete standing.
T40-41 athletes have short stature. T42-44 athletes have an impairment in one
or both legs, often requiring a prosthetic, but it also includes athletes with impaired
muscle power, impaired range of movement or leg length difference.
In classes T45-47, athletes have an impairment in one or both arms. T51-54 athletes compete in wheelchair racing
due to a leg impairment or loss of muscle power in the legs and/or trunk. For field
events, these athletes are split over classes F51-57 competing in seated throws. They also
have a limb impairment, for example from a spinal cord injury.
Whether you want to see athletes run 100m in just over 10 seconds, marvel at a high
jumper with one leg clearing 2 metres, or a thrower propelling a discuss nearly 50 metres,
this is the sport for you.