Historically, Para Athletics’ only event was wheelchair racing and was organized as rehabilitation efforts for disabled World War II veterans. However, come the 1960s, the then para-athletes dedicated themselves to raise awareness about Para Athleticism. Since then, their efforts were handsomely rewarded as Athletics for the disabled grew exponentially. Furthermore, the influence of technological advancements has also allowed para-sports to achieve feats once thought unimaginable; some athletes compete in wheelchairs while others are equipped with prostheses. With both factors combined, Para Athletics now boasts the largest number of events and participating athletes than any other sport at the Paralympics.
Modern Para Athletics consists of a range of sporting events that involve competitive running, jumping, and throwing. In fact, because masses are often drawn toward the heroics of the swift sprinter, the tenacity of the distance runner, and the herculean feat of the thrower, Track & Field is often touted as the showcase event at the Paralympic Games. Track events in the Paralympic Program (Singapore) includes the distances of 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, and 1500m. Field events include Javelin Throw, Club Throw, Shot Put and Long Jump. Though some events have specific classifications, Para-Athletics is generally open to athletes from both genders of all disability groups.
To be eligible for Para Athletics, a person must have the eligible corresponding impairment type. There are 10 of them—8 are physical impairment types, as well as visual impairment and intellectual impairment:
|Impaired Muscle Power||Muscles in the limbs or trunk are either partially or completely paralysed as a consequence of conditions such as spinal cord injury or spina bifida (i.e., following a nerve injury).|
|Impaired Passive Range of Movement||The range of movement in one or more joints is permanently reduced as a result of trauma, illness or congenital deficiency.|
|Limb Deficiency||A total or partial absence of bones or joints from birth, as a consequence of trauma or illness (i.e., amputation).|
|Ataxia||A lack of muscle co-ordination because of problems with the central nervous system that controls movement and balance.|
|Athetosis||Involuntary movements in limbs arising from problems in the central nervous system (i.e., consequence of cerebral palsy).|
|Hypertonia||Abnormal increase in muscle tension in tandem with the reduced flexibility in muscles, joint stiffness, and poor postural adaptation and balance, due to a compromised central nervous system|
|Short Stature||Standing height and limb length are reduced due to conditions such as achondroplasia and osteogenesis imperfecta.|
|Leg Length Difference||Minimum of a 7cm difference between leg lengths due to trauma, illness or congenital conditions.|
|Visual Impairment||Vision is compromised either by an impairment of the eye structure, optical pathways, or the visual cortex.|
|Intellectual Impairment||Limited intellectual functions and adaptive behaviour which must be diagnosed before the age of 18.|
There are also Sport Class Classifications, which ensures that athletes with impairments that have similar impacts on sport performance will compete against each other. The classifications for Para-Athletics can be found here.