The distances involved in track athletics include distances of 100m, 200m and 400m, 800 m and 1500m, long distances of 5000m and 10,000m and relay races of 4 x 100m and 4 x 400m. There are also road events and marathons. Athletes are divided into categories depending on their disability, these are spinal cord injury or an amputee, or cerebral palsy. The classification guidelines are continually being changed to include more athletes. Athletes who are in a wheelchair due to spinal cord injury, congenital condition or are an amputee are in classes T51 – T54. An athlete who is classed as T54 is completely functional from the waist up. An athlete who is classed as T53 has restricted movement in their abdominals. The rules for tack athletics mainly centre around the specification of the track wheelchair and say that the wheelchair shall have at least two large wheels and one small wheel which gives the track chair its distinctive look. Specialist chairs are a necessary piece of equipment for athletes competing in track athletics. Track chairs are generally very lightweight, with pneumatic tires, and the dimensions and features on the trek chairs must meet IPC Athletics rules for competition.
Athletics has been part of the Paralympic Games since 1960 and events are open to male and female athletes in all disability groups. Athletes compete in wheelchairs, others with prostheses and athletes with blindness/visual impairment compete with the guidance of a sighted guide. Athletes compete according to their functional classifications in each event and these events are continually being redefined to include as many athletes as possible. Athletics includes:
Athletics is governed by the IPC with co-ordination from the IPC Athletics Sports Manager and Technical Committee.
Track events include
Track events: Sprint (100m, 200m, 400m), Middle Distance (800m, 1500m), Long Distance (5,000m, 10,000m) and Relay races (4x100m, 4x400m)
Road event: Marathon
Combined events: Pentathlon (track and road events, jumping events and throwing events, depending on the athletes' classification).
Who can play
Athletes compete according to their functional classifications in each event and these events are continually being redefined to include as many athletes as possible.
In Athletics, athletes from all of the disability categories represented in the IPC compete: Track events have the letter 'T' precede the discipline whilst the number that follows refers to their functional classification.
- Classes 11, 12 and 13 cover the different levels of visual impairment.
- Class 20 covers athletes with an intellectual impairment
- Classes 32-38 cover athletes with different levels of cerebral palsy - both wheelchair (32 - 34) and ambulant (35 - 38).
- Classes 40-46 cover ambulant athletes with different levels of amputations and other impairments, including les Autres (eg. dwarfism).
- Classes 51-58 cover wheelchair athletes with different levels of spinal cord injuries and amputations.
Field event rules obviously differ from discipline to discipline. An extensive list of the rules can be found at the following link; http://ipc-athletics.paralympic.org/Rules/
Wheelchair users use a track racing chair. Ambulant runners run unaided unless accompanied by a guide in the case of visually impaired athletes.