Who Can Compete?

To create fair competition, athletes with a disability are classified to ensure that athletes with similar function and abilities compete against each other. As a result, not all disabilities compete in all sports.

For More Information on Classification:

http://www.paralympic.org/Classification/Introduction

Sports at the Paralympic Games are contested by athletes with the following disabilities:

Amputee:

Persons with at least one major joint or limb missing. This may be congenital, from birth, or acquired due to illness or injury. 

Eligible for the following sports:

  • Archery
  • Athletics *
  • Boccia
  • Cycling
  • Equestrian
  • Fencing
  • Powerlifting
  • Rowing
  • Sailing
  • Shooting **
  • Wheelchair curling **
  • Swimming
  • Table Tennis
  • Volleyball
  • Wheelchair basketball
  • Wheelchair rugby
  • Wheelchair tennis
  • Biathlon
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Alpine skiing
  • Sledge hockey
 

Spinal Cord:

Persons with impaired function in the lower limbs and all or part of the trunk (paraplegia) if the injury is higher or in the neck area of the spine (quadriplegia), or where the upper limbs also are impaired (tetraplegia). People with medical conditions that result in similar loss of muscle function (e.g. spina bifida and poliomyelitis) are also included in this group of athletes with spinal injury.

Eligible for the following sports:

  • Swimming
  • Table Tennis
  • Volleyball
  • Wheelchair basketball
  • Wheelchair rugby
  • Wheelchair tennis
  • Biathlon
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Alpine skiing
  • Sledge hockey

Cerebral Palsy:

Cerebral palsy is a condition in which muscle tone, reflexes, posture, or movement are affected. It may be present from birth or acquired up to age three as a result of a stroke or head injury. For sport purposes, athletes who acquire a brain injury after age three also fall in to this group.

Eligible for the following sports:

  • 7-a-side Football
  • Archery
  • Athletics*
  • Boccia
  • Cycling
  • Equestrian
  • Fencing
  • Powerlifting
  • Rowing
  • Sailing
  • Shooting **
  • Swimming
  • Table Tennis
  • Wheelchair basketball
  • Wheelchair rugby
  • Wheelchair tennis
  • Volleyball
  • Biathlon
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Alpine skiing
  • Sledge hockey
  • Wheelchair curling**
 

Visual Impairment

Persons with any condition that impacts vision from reduced visual field or visual acuity (the acuteness or clearness of vision) to full blindness.

Eligible for the following sports:

  • 5-a-side
  • Athletics*
  • Cycling
  • Equestrian
  • Goalball
  • Judo
  • Rowing
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Biathlon
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Alpine skiing
  • Sledge hockey
  • Wheelchair curling**
 

Les Autres

“Les autres” is French for “others”. This group includes persons with multiple sclerosis (MS), muscular distrophy (MD) as well as any physical disabilities that do not fall into the other categories. 

Eligible for the following sports:

  • Archery
  • Athletics*
  • Boccia
  • Rowing
  • Sailing
  • Shooting**
  • Swimming
  • Table Tennis
  • Wheelchair basketball
  • Wheelchair rugby
  • Wheelchair tennis

Intellectual disability

Intellectual disability refers to a cognitive impairment affecting brain function. This group of athletes did not compete at the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, but competed at the London 2012 Paralympic Games in the sports of athletics, swimming and table tennis. For more information, please visit www.inas.org

Eligible for the following sports:

  • Athletics
  • Swimming
  • Table Tennis