Paralympics games are officially underway. The event takes place in Tokyo, Japan. The tournament will run until 5 September
Paralympics is a tournament specially designed for athletes with disabilities. It is held in the following summer and winter Olympics.
This year Paralympics to begin with empty stands, just like the Olympics, due to the Covid-19 risks, but without a doubt, it is a bigger stage. Japan at the moment is going through a record wave of coronavirus infections. As per the reports the cases which were reported from Tokyo in 2020 were among the people who live in the city. But the organizers are quite confident regarding their countermeasures for the virus. They believe that it will stop the virus from spreading from Paralympics participants to the public.
Paralympic Games in Tokyo 2020
Interesting thing is that Tokyo is the only city that has twice hosted the Paralympics games. The first one was hosted in 1964 in which about 378 athletes competed. And the second one is going on now.
Difference between Paralympic Games, and Special Olympic
There is a lot of confusion or misunderstanding for the many viewers around the world to understand the difference between the Paralympics, Special Olympics, and Olympics.
Paralympics comprises athletes with disabilities. The athletes participating in Paralympics must be eligible and full fill the criteria to meet the qualifying standards. Athletes competing in Paralympics sports are classified according to “the degree of activity constraint” caused by their impairment.
Special Olympics include athletes with all intellectual disabilities. Athletes of age 8 years or more can participate. Special Olympics hold the games every two years, also provides training to the athletes and competitions every year around.
What’s common between them?
Although the Olympics and Paralympics have separate regulatory bodies, they have been conducted in tandem for decades, in the same host city and year.
Six disability groups in Paralympic Games
Athletes from six different disability categories compete in the Paralympics: amputee, cerebral palsy, intellectual impairment, visually impaired, spinal injuries, and Les Autres (French for “the others”, a category that includes conditions that do not fit into any of the other categories).
What’s new this time?
For the first time, Badminton and Taekwondo will be played in Paralympics (making their debut).
Badminton and taekwondo are two of the 28 sports sanctioned by the International Paralympic Committee that are new to the Paralympic Games.
Although the International Paralympics Committee (IPC) declared badminton to be an approved sport in 2015, it is only now making its debut.
All you need to know about the Paralympic Games in Tokyo
As restrictions throughout the world have increased and become strict due to Covid-19, the players, staff, and officials participating in Paralympics will be tested for Covid-19 on daily basis, and they will be allowed to remain under their accommodations only.
The Paralympics in Japan are attracting a record 4,403 athletes from 162 countries, as well as 12000 staff, officials, and journalists for the 13-day event. Bhutan, Maldives, Grenada, St Vincent, Paraguay, and Grenadines are sending their teams for the Paralympics events first time.
A complicated classification system divides Paralympians into groups according to how their skills affect their performance in each of the 539 events.
Organizers recorded 154 Covid-19 cases associated with the Paralympics as of Tuesday, including six competitors. Local regions hosting teams for training camps have reported another seven instances.
According to the organizers, 88 percent of the participants, staff people, officials, including journalists are vaccinated.
For the Olympic and Paralympics Games, around 5,000 gold, silver, and bronze medals were manufactured. The words “Tokyo 2020” are written in Braille on the Paralympic Games medals.
With spectators being banned to come to the stadiums, just like the Olympics, Paralympics will be held in empty stadiums. But organizers are quite confident that the tournament will reach a massive audience through TV, and social media platforms.
In a recent interview with AFP, IPC director Andrew Parsons said, “We anticipate we will reach more than four billion people through broadcasting.”
Do events like Paralympic Games empower people with disabilities?
The International Paralympics Committee IPC’s stated mission is to use the Paralympics Games to foster a more inclusive society. But, can a two-week-long elite sporting tournament held every four years bring about genuine social change?
The Paralympics Games in Tokyo in 2020 will serve as a spark for a new global campaign focused on ending prejudice against disabled people. The International Paralympics Committee (IPC) and the International Disability Alliance, as well as several other sports, human rights, and business organizations, have launched a new initiative called We the 15. The idea is to provide people with disabilities
The most contemplated thought right now around the world, that does events like Paralympics empower people with disabilities? The majority of the people agree with this. But there are some exceptions as well, who do not agree with the statement.
Disability usually makes the individual mentally and physically weak by putting one into the thought of they can’t do anything. People with disabilities in a society like this have to face a lot of discrimination.
Such bigger events and platforms like Paralympics are playing a big role in removing the discrimination against people with disabilities and empowering them. These events bring hope among such people that they have the chance to prove themselves and show their strength mentally and physically in front of the world. Events like the Paralympics have inspired the people like Ellie Robinson (2016 Rio gold medalist). Ellie Robinson was inspired to take up swimming to defeat the disability, after watching Ellie Symonds (Paralymparian swimmer) who competed at London 2012.
At the same time having certain criteria and qualifying standards that determine whether one is eligible to apply or not? Because of this process, many athletes have been rejected just because of not being disabled enough. This may make many athletes disheartened.
Five fingers are not equal. Different people have different opinions. However, the ones with the majority win. It could be said that the Paralympics is the aspiration for the thousands of disabled people around the world, but for many people, it is an elite sport that does not propagate equality for all.