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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsTokyo 2020 Paralympic Games Set to Begin; Greece Competes with 46 Athletes

Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games Set to Begin; Greece Competes with 46 Athletes

Paralympic Games
Greece Team parades at the closing of the Rio Paralympic Games in 2016. Credit: Hellenic Olympic Committee

The Paralympic Games 2020 will begin on Tuesday in Tokyo with around 4,400 athletes with disabilities, including 46 from Greece, who will compete in 22 sports.

As Tokyo prepares to host the event, organizers urged participants to follow virus rules with increased vigilance.

“The infection situation today is different to how it was before the Olympics. It has deteriorated,” said Tokyo 2020 official Hidemasa Nakamura.

“And the local medical system is also in a very tight situation,” he told reporters after a meeting of experts to discuss Covid-19 measures. “Para athletes, compared to Olympic athletes, risk having even more serious symptoms, so we need to be even more careful.”

So far, 86 positive tests have been recorded among Paralympics participants, mostly among Japan-based employees and contractors.

Like at the Olympics, which finished earlier this month, athletes will be tested frequently and restricted to venues and the athletes’ village. Events will take place behind closed doors.

Greece Paralympic team competes with 46 athletes in 11 sports

Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games
Greek Paralympic team flying last week to Tokyo. Credit: Facebook/Hellenic Olympic Committee

Team Greece which departed for Tokyo last week will compete with 46 athletes in 11 sports, including track and field, swimming, weightlifting, fencing, cycling, judo, archery and table tennis.

At the Rio Games in 2016, Greece won 13 medals (5 gold, 4 silver, 4 bronze), taking the 24th place in the medal table. It was the second best place in the history of the Greek Paralympic, after the games in Beijing where it finished on 20th place.

History of Paralympic Games

On 29 July 1948, the day of the Opening Ceremony of the London 1948 Olympic Games, Dr. Guttmann organised the first competition for wheelchair athletes which he named the Stoke Mandeville Games, a milestone in Paralympic history. They involved 16 injured servicemen and women who took part in archery.

The Stoke Mandeville Games later became the Paralympic Games which first took place in Rome, Italy, in 1960 featuring 400 athletes from 23 countries. Since then they have taken place every four years.

In 1976 the first Winter Games in Paralympics history were held in Sweden, and as with the Summer Games, have taken place every four years, and include a Paralympics Opening Ceremony and Paralympics Closing Ceremony.

Since the Summer Games of Seoul, Korea in 1988 and the Winter Games in Albertville, France in 1992 the Games have also taken part in the same cities and venues as the Olympics.

The Paralympics has grown from a small gathering of British World War II veterans in 1948 to become one of the largest international sporting events by the early 21st century. The Paralympics has grown from 400 athletes with a disability from 23 countries in 1960 to thousands of competitors from over 100 countries.

Given the wide variety of disabilities that Para athletes have, there are several categories in which the athletes compete. The allowable disabilities are broken down into ten eligible impairment types.

The categories are impaired muscle power, impaired passive range of movement, limb deficiency, leg length difference, short stature, hypertonia, ataxia, athetosis, vision impairment and intellectual impairment.

These categories are further broken down into classifications, which vary from sport to sport.

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