"The speed of the sprinter, the strength of the thrower, and the endurance of the distance athlete..."
Often considered the showcase of the Paralympic Games, people are drawn to Athletics to witness the speed of the sprinter, the strength of the thrower, and the endurance of the distance athlete.
Originally only wheelchair racing was included in the Paralympic Games, but since the 1960s Athletics for disabled athletes has grown enormously and now includes more athletes and events than any other sport at the Paralympics. Some 164 countries competed in Athletics at London 2012.
Track events include all Olympic and Paralympic distances – 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, 5000m, Marathon, 4 x 100m Relay and 4 x 400m Relay. Field disciplines comprise Shot, Discus, Javelin, Club Throwing (for athletes with a high level of impairment), plus Long Jump, High Jump and Triple Jump.
Although some disciplines are specific to particular classifications, Athletics is open to men and women in all impairments groups. It uses a functional classification system that groups athletes based on their ability. As a brief guide, field athletes are classified as ‘F’ and track athletes as ‘T’: F/T11-13 athletes with a visual impairment, F/T20 athletes with learning disability, F/T31-38 athletes who have cerebral palsy , F40- 41 athletes with dwarfism, F/T 42-46 athletes who are amputees or ‘les autres’, T51-54 wheelchair track and F51-58 wheelchair field athletes.
Wheelchairs are considered sports equipment in track and are specially designed for the event, as are throwing frames for field athletes with limited mobility. Specialised prosthetic devices may be used by leg and arm amputees, while visually impaired runners can use sighted guides or callers.
Additional information and useful links
History of Athletics
History of Athletics
Athletics, also known as track and field, is a collection of sports that involve running, throwing and jumping. The name is derived from the Greek word "athlon" meaning "contest".
When the first sports competitions began in Ancient Greece it was Athletics that formed the main part of the Games. It is the basic tests of speed and strength that still form the heart of Athletics.
The International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) was founded in 1912 by 17 national athletic federations.
Athletics became a Paralympic Games sport in Rome, 1960, and has more events and competitors than any other sport in the Paralympic Games.
National Governing Body
As the national governing body for Athletics, British Athletics (BA) oversees the development and management of the sport, from grassroots right through to podium.