The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced that the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will feature 22 sports, with badminton and taekwondo included for the first time.
At its meeting in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on Saturday (31 January), the IPC Governing Board approved a further six sports for inclusion in the Games, adding to the 16 sports that were ratified and announced after its meeting in October 2014. A maximum of 23 sports could have been included for 2020.
The 22 sports that will be included in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games are: athletics, archery, badminton, boccia, canoe, cycling, equestrian, football 5-a-side, goalball, judo, powerlifting, rowing, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, triathlon, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair fencing, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis.
The two sports not included in Tokyo 2020 are football 7-a-side and sailing.
Sir Philip Craven, IPC President, said: “I would like to thank all 24 sports for applying for inclusion in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and pass on my congratulations to the 22 sports that have been approved by the IPC Governing Board. In particular, I’d like to pay testament to the sports of badminton and taekwondo for the work they have undertaken in securing their place at a Paralympic Games for the first time.
“To reach this decision, the IPC undertook the most extensive and rigorous review process ever of all the sports which started in November 2013.
“All were assessed against the same criteria and our aim all along has been to ensure that the final Tokyo 2020 Paralympic sports programme is fresh and features the best para-sports possible.
“The Board’s final decision was not an easy one and, after much debate, we decided not to include two sports – football 7-a-side and sailing – from the Tokyo 2020 programme for the same reason. Both did not fulfil the IPC Handbook’s minimum criteria for worldwide reach.”
The IPC Handbook states only team sports widely and regularly practised in a minimum of 24 countries and three IPC regions will be considered for inclusion in the Paralympic Games and for individual sports a minimum of 32 countries in three IPC regions.
Sir Philip Craven added: “Although the IPC Governing Board approved the inclusion of cycling, it did express serious reservations regarding the sustainability of the track cycling discipline.
“While a decision on the Tokyo 2020 medal events programme will not be made until 2017, the Board encourages the UCI to work towards increasing both the number of high-performance track cyclists and the number of opportunities for them to compete at an international level.”
Hidetoshi Fujisawa, Tokyo 2020 Executive Director of Communications and Engagement, said: “Tokyo 2020 welcomes the announcement made by the International Paralympic Committee Governing Board on 31 January regarding the 22 sports to be included in the sports programme for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
“This final line-up of sports brings us a step closer to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and will help the Organising Committee to further build momentum and excitement in Tokyo, Japan and throughout the entire world.”
Twenty four sports were eligible to apply for inclusion in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Following the submission of applications from the eligible sports, the IPC management team undertook a rigorous assessment of all applications. Sports were assessed for worldwide participation in terms of countries and continents, where the sport is regularly practiced, quadrennial competition programme, athlete classification, anti-doping programme, rules and regulations, and initiatives undertaken to make their sport more attractive.
On completion of the review process, the IPC management team made recommendations to the IPC Governing Board ahead of their October 2014 meeting in Berlin, Germany, where 16 sports were approved for inclusion.
The eight sports that were not approved at October’s meeting were asked to provide additional information to the IPC addressing issues identified in their applications. This information was reviewed and a further analysis provided to the IPC Governing Board ahead of this week’s meeting.
The IPC Governing Board then decided which of the eight remaining sports should be included in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games which will be held from 25 August – 6 September 2020.
Since the first Paralympic Games in Rome, Italy, in 1960, the Paralympic Games have continued to grow in size and stature. The first Games featured 400 athletes from 23 countries competing in eight sports – archery, athletics, dartchery, snooker, swimming, table tennis, wheelchair fencing and wheelchair basketball.
At London 2012, the Games involved a record 4,237 athletes from 164 countries who took part in 503 medal events across 20 sports. A cumulated global audience of 3.8 billion watched the Games, whilst 2.78 million tickets were sold, making the Paralympics the third-biggest sporting event in the world behind the Olympics and FIFA World Cup.
In 2010, para-badminton, intellectually impaired basketball, para-golf, powerchair football and para-taekwondo all applied to be part of the Rio 2016 Paralympic sports programme but were unsuccessful with the Governing Board instead choosing applications from para-canoe and para-triathlon.