Higher, farther. Athletes strive to be the best with their own distinctive style.
Tokyo 2020 competition animation "One Minute, One Sport"
We will show you the rules and highlights of field in one minute. Whether you are familiar with field or want to know more about it, "One Minute, One Sport" explains the sport and how it works. Watch the video below.
One major distinguishing characteristic of Para athletics is their division into sport classes (classification). To facilitate fair competition under conditions that are as equal as possible for athletes with a range of impairments, athletes are placed into competition categories (called sport classes), according to how much their impairment affects sports performance. Competition is held either by sport class or by combined sport classes that encompass athletes from a similar nature and level of impairment.
Field events include jumping and throwing. Jumping events include the high jump and long jump, while throwing events include the shot put, javelin throw and discuss throw, along with the club throw — a Para athletics-specific event. The question of which events and classes are held is examined and determined on a competition-by-competition basis.
The rules are generally the same as for World Athletics, with some changes according to the impairment class. Athletes challenge their limits by jumping or throwing one centimetre higher or farther, while compensating for their impairment.
- Long Jump T11 (Men/Women)
- Long Jump T12 (Men/Women)
- Long Jump T13 (Men)
- Long Jump T20 (Men/Women)
- Long Jump T36 (Men)
- Long Jump T37 (Men/Women)
- Long Jump T38 (Men/Women)
- Long Jump T47 (Men/Women)
- Long Jump T63 (Men/Women)
- Long Jump T64 (Men/Women)
- High Jump T47 (Men)
- High Jump T63 (Men)
- High Jump T64 (Men)
- Club Throw F32 (Men/Women)
- Club Throw F51 (Men/Women)
- Discus Throw F11 (Men/Women)
- Discus Throw F37 (Men)
- Discus Throw F38 (Women)
- Discus Throw F41 (Women)
- Discus Throw F52 (Men)
- Discus Throw F53 (Women)
- Discus Throw F55 (Women)
- Discus Throw F56 (Men)
- Discus Throw F57 (Women)
- Discus Throw F64 (Men/Women)
- Javelin Throw F13 (Men/Women)
- Javelin Throw F34 (Men/Women)
- Javelin Throw F38 (Men)
- Javelin Throw F41 (Men)
- Javelin Throw F46 (Men/Women)
- Javelin Throw F54 (Men/Women)
- Javelin Throw F56 (Women)
- Javelin Throw F57 (Men)
- Javelin Throw F64 (Men)
- Shot Put F11 (Men)
- Shot Put F12 (Men/Women)
- Shot Put F20 (Men/Women)
- Shot Put F32 (Men/Women)
- Shot Put F33 (Men/Women)
- Shot Put F34 (Men/Women)
- Shot Put F35 (Men/Women)
- Shot Put F36 (Men/Women)
- Shot Put F37 (Men/Women)
- Shot Put F40 (Men/Women)
- Shot Put F41 (Men/Women)
- Shot Put F46 (Men)
- Shot Put F53 (Men)
- Shot Put F54 (Women)
- Shot Put F55 (Men)
- Shot Put F57 (Men/Women)
- Shot Put F63 (Men)
Essence of the Sport
Working with tools and assistants is a key factor in successful competition
A wide range of sport classes compete in jumping events, but the specific events and classes hosted vary with each competition. Impairment classes are expressed by the letter T followed by a two-digit number that indicates the type and extent of impairment. Athletes with a visual impairment (T11/12) may compete with the aid of an assistant who provides acoustic orientation. Athletes may be accompanied by an escort who escorts them to the runway starting point or competition area and orients them as to the direction in which they must run. The athletes may also be accompanied by a caller who provides information such as the direction in which they must run or the location of the take-off point during competition by clapping or vocal cues. In the T11 class, these two roles may be fulfilled by two people or a single person. Competitors are free to determine the method used to provide vocal cues and the location at which their caller stands, as long as their choices conform to the rules and do not interfere with competition. The long jump is distinguished by its use of a larger take-off area instead of a take-off board.
Only T11 athletes (total visual impairment, etc.) are required to wear an eye mask to ensure fairness despite differences in visual acuity. Consequently, they compete in total darkness and must rely only on the voice of the caller. They run as straight as they can along the take-off route in the direction of the voice and then leap into the air at the position that they believe is the take-off point. The process of building trust during daily practice sessions is essential in order to gain courage to overcome fear. It's interesting to compare different methods used by callers, which include examples such as continually clapping the hands and counting in sync with the athlete's strides.
Many athletes with limb deficiency sport use of a prosthetic arm or leg designed to aid balance during competition, but in fact, jumping events differ from track events in that competitors are not required to use a prosthetic leg and may instead hop. Athletes search for the method that best allows them to maximise their own strength and then strive to achieve greater heights with it.
All sport classes compete in throwing events. Classes are expressed by the letter F followed by a two-digit number that indicates the type and extent of impairment. F11- and F12-class athletes with a visual impairment are accompanied by an escort and caller, but a single person must fulfil both roles. As with jumping events, athletes are led to the throwing circle and then oriented by clapping or vocal cues. Wheelchair-class athletes may also compete from a throwing frame that secures their bodies with a belt or other means so that their legs and hips don't move during the throw, allowing them to complete a stable throwing movement. In short, they make the throw while seated using only their upper body strength, instead of utilising a running start or other technique. Competitors may use their own, customised frame as long as it conforms to the rules.
There is also a Para athletics specific throwing event known as the club throw. This competition, which is designed for wheelchair-class athletes with particularly severe impairments and athletes whose arm movement is impaired, is judged on the basis of how far a bowling pin-shaped club about 40cm in length and weighing 397g can be thrown. There are no constraints on the manner in which the club is thrown, and athletes may face away from the direction of throw if they wish.
Athletes with an Intellectual impairment compete in one sport class (T20 or F20), with limitation to compete in running events (TaR), long jump (HozJ) and/or shot put (SHO).
Outlook for the Tokyo 2020 Games
Remarkable progress from championship to championship that sometimes rivals the Olympics
How athletes perform while utilising aids designed for each impairment class and teamwork with assistants is the most compelling aspect of para sports. Improvement in training methods and evolution in the performance of aids and other aspects of competition are driving rapid growth in the level of athletes' performances and records.
In recent years, athlete Markus Rehm (Germany), who runs with a prosthetic leg, has attracted significant international attention. Despite losing his right leg from the knee down in an accident when he was 14, he began competing in athletics wearing a prosthetic leg and became particularly adept at the long jump. He won the gold medal at the London 2012 Games by setting a T44 (now T64) class (single below-knee amputation) record of 7.35m. He went on to compete against able-bodied athletes in the German national championships, which he won, and in 2015 he set a world record of 8.40m for the class at the IPC Athletics World Championships. This remarkable record was just one centimetre short of the able-bodied record of 8.41m set at the IAAF World Championships the same year in Beijing. Expectations for a new record at the Tokyo 2020 Games are running high.
The T42 (now T63) class for athletes with a single above-knee amputation, a slightly more serious impairment than Rehm's class, is also interesting. High-level competition among the event's top three athletes — Heinrich Popow (Germany), Daniel Wagner (Denmark) and Atsushi Yamamoto (Japan) — led to five world records during 2016. Popow, who holds the world record in the event (6.77m), dominated the Rio 2016 Games with a 6.70m jump but then announced his retirement at the World Para Athletics World Championships in the summer of 2017. It will be fascinating to see how the competition for medals develops at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
New world records have come similarly fast in throwing events, which are characterised by individual athletes who become world champions in multiple events. Aled Davies (UK), who has a congenital lower limb deficiency, won the gold medal in the men's 42-class discus throw at the London 2012 Games as well as in the shot put in the same class at the Rio 2016 Games. On the women's side of the sport, a pair of Tunisian athletes have established themselves as champions in the F41 shot put and discus throw and in the F32 shot put and club throw, respectively. Remarkably, Chinese athletes captured 14 gold medals in throwing events at the Rio 2016 Games.
Under the current rules, if an athlete's prosthesis falls off during a jump, that jump is measured from the point at which it fell to the ground (based on the mark it leaves on the ground).
However, the jump doesn't count if the prosthesis falls off before the sandpit or outside the sandpit. If an athlete's prosthesis falls off during the approach to the jump, the athlete may reattach it and start his or her approach again if there is enough time to do so.