Para Athletics

Para athletics is the largest competition at the Paralympic Games. Events are available for athletes with physical Impairments, both seated and standing, athletes with vision impairments, as well as athletes with an intellectual impairment. Contested events include:

  • Track events: Sprint (100m, 200m, 400m), Middle Distance (800m, 1500m), Long Distance (5,000m, 10,000m), and Relay races (4x100m)
  • Road event: Marathon
  • Jumping events: High Jump, Long Jump, and Triple Jump
  • Throwing events: Discus, Shot Put, Club Throw and Javelin

The rules of Paralympic track and field are almost identical to those of its Olympic counterparts with some allowances to accommodate certain impairments (for example, blind and visually-impaired runners may compete with guide runners attached to them by a tether at the wrist). Accommodations are specific to the event and impairment type.

Canada has a rich history in para athletics and its athletes have reached the podium at every Paralympic Games since 1968. Wheelchair racer Chantal Petitclerc is the most successful Canadian track Paralympian with 21 medals earned at the Games. She was awarded the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s athlete of the year in 2008, a first for a female athlete with a disability.

Are you an individual with a disability looking to get started in Para Athletics? Click HERE to be connected with our Para Development Manager

For all other questions relating to Para Athletics, email

Athlete Classification

Classification is the system that “determines which athletes are eligible to compete in a sport and how athletes are grouped together for competition. This, to a certain extent, is similar to grouping athletes by age, gender or weight” (International Paralympic Committee). The classification system has been designed so that athletes who succeed in competition do so on the basis of their sporting ability including their technical skill, fitness, mental focus, and tactical ability. Athletes are classified according to their activity limitation resulting from their disability which is termed “impairment” in the context of classification as outlined in Disability in the Context of Paralympic Sport section. (

Classification is required to compete in Para Athletics at certain levels of competition, including National Championships and International competitions; however people who may not classify can still enjoy Para Athletics and reap the benefits of being active and playing sport.

Athletics is open to athletes with an eligible physical, intellectual or vision impairment. Athletes do NOT need to undergo a formal classification process in order to compete at a regional or provincial level.

For more information and to request classification, fill out this FORM or email


Becoming Para Ready

World Para Athletics Classification Rules & Regulations

Visual guide on different classifications

World Para Athletics (WPA) Sanctioned Competitions

Faster, Higher, Further | Para Athletics Explained