Top 5 Paralympic Sports to Tune Into
The 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games kicked off this past Tuesday. The Paralympics showcase the world’s best athletes with disabilities. Although many of the events are similar to the Olympics, some events are unique to the Paralympics. This guide will rank and breakdown the top five events to tune into.
Para Table Tennis
Played at a way more competitive level than your local party, some athletes only play with one arm and in one case, no arms. Para Table Tennis is like table tennis in many ways. Athletes attempt to hit the ball with a paddle onto the other side of the table and are aiming to hit the ball past their opponent or force them into an error.
The medal rounds are set to start on Aug. 29. An athlete to watch out for is Ibrahim Hamato from Egypt who holds the paddle with his mouth since he has no arms. To serve, he throws the ball up with his feet. Another athlete to watch out for is Natalia Partyka from Poland who has won four straight gold medals and has also competed in the able-bodied Olympics.
This sport is just basketball played in wheelchairs, but perhaps it’s a little more difficult as the hoop is the same height as regular basketball. For every two pushes of the wheelchair, you must dribble the basketball at least once or it’s a travel. Although players can’t dunk, you will see your fair share of ankle breakers, or in this case wheel breakers.
Elimination play will begin on Aug. 31, and the medal rounds will occur on Sept.4 and Sept. 5. In both the men’s and women’s divisions, Team USA will look to defend the gold medal they won in Rio. Canada and Germany will both be strong contenders for medals as well.
Boccia incorporates strategy and skill. It is very similar to curling as individuals or pairs who are typically impaired in the lower body attempt to throw a ball as close as possible to a jack, which is a white ball. The closer your ball is to the jack, the better. Boccia requires a lot of strategy as sometimes players will attempt to hit the opponent’s ball.
Elimination play and medal rounds will occur on Sept. 4 and Sept. 5. South Korea, Portugal and Brazil are all strong contenders for gold in the various disability classifications, in individual and pairs.
If you’re looking for physical contact and monster hits, look no further than wheelchair rugby, also known as murderball. Each team has four players on the court who work together to advance the ball through the endline. Physical contact is not only permitted, it’s encouraged.
Elimination play will begin on Aug. 28 and the medal rounds will take place on Aug. 29. Team USA has never finished off the podium and will seek to avenge their double overtime loss in the gold medal match against Australia in Rio. The Aussies will attempt to win their third straight gold medal in the event.
Goalball is an exciting team sport for the visually impaired that tests athletes’ hand-ear coordination. It is played on an indoor volleyball court in teams of three. Teams will alternate rolling a ball that contains bells into a goal, and defending their own goal.
Elimination play will begin on Aug. 31 and the medal rounds will occur on Sept. 3. Brazil will seek to win gold with star player Leomon Moreno leading the way. He was able to win gold for Brazil at the World Championships in 2018. Team USA is also a strong contender to win gold after coming in second in Rio.
And there it is, the unofficial guide to watching the Paralympics. In addition to these events, be on the lookout for badminton and taekwondo as they make their inaugural appearance at the Games. Although the Paralympics usually don’t get as much media attention and hype as the able-bodied Olympics, it’s very entertaining and heartwarming to watch, and can serve as a motivator for all.
Hi, I am Tony Cao. I am a senior and this is my first year on the Trailblazer staff. I captain the ultimate frisbee team at school. When I’m not at school,...