Sports Guide to the Paralympics
You might not know it, but over the years, Australia has won more medals at the Paralympics than at the Olympic games. Since 1984, the national team has brought home at least five gold medals and over 29 silver and bronze at every single Paralympics. Together Australia holds 396 medals of which 119 are gold. This year Australia has an extremely diverse team participating in approximately 80 per cent of all the events at the games, and there’s hope that they can once again equal or smash their past medal records.
One of the most popular events at the Paralympics is the swimming event. Athletes competing in the swimming event must have a visual, intellectual, or physical impairment. The Athletes are divided into divisions swimming against fellow athletes with similar impairments. All together, 595 athletes from all over the world will compete for the 152 medals on offer.
Sailing and Rowing
Sailing was first introduced as a medal sport into the Paralympics in Sydney. Prior to the Sydney games, sailing was a demonstration sport. This year, there are six Australians who hope to bring back a few medals between them. While the sport is generally dominated by men, it is in fact one of the few sports where men and woman compete together.
Rowing at the Paralympics is also known as adaptive rowing. In this discipline, athletes compete over various distances with both men and woman competing in each category. This year, Australia has eight competitors in total. We are one of 25 countries participating in the event. This is one of Australia’s stronger sports with 2 silver medals won in both of the previous Paralympic games.
Shooting and Sitting Volleyball
Shooting at the Paralympics is for individuals with visual impairments or damaged nerves. Shooting is divided into different distances as well as separate categories for different rifles and pistols. Australia has six competitors in Rio vying for a place among the medal holders. Australia currently holds 25 shooting medals, of which 15 are gold.
Sitting Volleyball made its debut in 1980 quickly becoming one of the most popular sports at the Paralympics. In sitting volleyball, eight players play at a time with the net lowered just above head height. This year, 16 countries compete in both the men’s and the woman’s event. The final four teams then play in the gold medal match.
The Paralympics run from the 7th of September to the 18th of September 2016, and Australians are hoping for another large medal haul this time around.