Badminton will join the Paralympic programme at Tokyo 2020, showcasing one of the world's most exciting racket sports.
Tokyo 2020 competition animation "One Minute, One Sport"
We will show you the rules and highlights of badminton in one minute. Whether you are familiar with badminton or want to know more about it, "One Minute, One Sport" explains the sport and how it works. Watch the video below.
In September 2017, the International Paralympic Committee announced a programme of 14 Badminton events — seven men's, six women's and one mixed — for Tokyo 2020, as the sport makes its Paralympic debut. A total of 90 players (46 men and 44 women) will compete in singles, doubles and mixed doubles events.
The sport's inclusion in the Games is a recognition of its global growth. International tournaments have been held since the 1990s and the first world championships were staged in the Netherlands in 1998. More than 230 athletes representing 35 countries competed at the tenth world championships in 2015, while the game is now played in more than 60 countries across five continents.
- Singles WH1 (Men/Women)
- Singles WH2 (Men/Women)
- Singles SL3 (Men)
- Singles SL4 (Men/Women)
- Singles SU5 (Men/Women)
- Singles SH6 (Men)
- Doubles WH (Men/Women)
- Doubles SL/SU (Women/Mixed)
Essence of the Sport
Subtle serves and spectacular smashes
Athletes are divided into six classes (two wheelchair classes and four standing classes), with the rules of Badminton followed except for minor modifications. All events use a “best of three games” format, each of 21 points. The height of the net is the same for all classes.
Singles events in the two wheelchair classes use half the court, with shuttles falling between the net and a service line placed close to the net considered out of bounds.
Matches in these classes can be tactical and strategic, with the players skilfully controlling their chairs as they engage in sustained rallies.
In the four standing classes, look out for the lightning-fast smash hits that are a feature of the sport. All matches are played on a full court, with the exception of one class for standing athletes with lower limb impairments where half the court is used. The Tokyo 2020 programme will include a class for athletes with short stature.
Outlook for the Tokyo 2020 Games
Vying for the Paralympic podium
Players compete in BWF-recognised international tournaments, where they earn points that determine their international ranking.
The sport is strongest in Europe and Asia, with countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand dominating the upper tiers of the rankings. Chinese athletes are moving into contention, while players from the Republic of Korea have proved particularly strong in the men's wheelchair classes.
Korea's Lee Sam Seop won gold medals at the 2015 world championships in men's singles, doubles and mixed doubles and was chosen as the most outstanding player that year by the BWF. By winning the singles gold medal and the doubles silver medal at the 2016 Badminton Asia Championships, he proved age is no barrier — he is still among the world's top wheelchair Badminton players in his mid-40s.
Among the leading women, Denmark’s Cathrine Rosengren enjoyed a stellar debut as a Para Badminton player at the 2016 European Championships in the Netherlands. She claimed gold in the SU5 singles category by beating teammate Astrid Lilhav Riis in the final, then won silver in the doubles to round off a memorable week.
A low backrest is used to avoid interference with a player's movement.
In addition, extra caster-wheels added to the rear of the wheelchair prevent it overturning when the player reaches backwards to hit the shuttlecock.