Badminton and Taekwondo Make Paralympic Debut in Tokyo
Two of the 28 sports sanctioned by the International Paralympic Committee are new to the Paralympic Games: badminton and taekwondo.
Although the IPC announced that badminton will become an official sport in 2015, it is just making its debut.
Athletes in the badminton competition are divided into six classes: two wheelchair classes and four standing classes. There are men’s and women’s singles as well as men’s, women’s and mixed doubles.
Most of the rules for para-badminton are the same as the valid version of the sport, according to the organizing committee. The height of the net is also the same, standing at just over 5 feet.
Athletes in both wheelchair classes use competition wheelchairs with special modifications for the sport, such as a low backrest to allow more shots, as well as additional wheels to prevent overturning.
Taekwondo will be the first full contact Paralympic sport of all time.
Developed in 2006, para taekwondo has the same rules as its Olympic counterpart with some changes for safety.
Kicking to the head is prohibited and punches to the body will not count in a competitor’s score, “because athletes have different abilities to block,” the organizing committee said.
Instead, para taekwondoins, as they’re called, can rack up extra points by landing more difficult kicks, like a spinning kick or spinning kick.