Athletics is one of the most popular Paralympic sports. Athletics was included in the competition program of the first Paralympic Games in 1960 in Rome. It involves the largest number of men and women athletes and the largest number of events.

Participants in the Paralympic Games are men and women athletes with cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, amputations or other physical disabilities, blind athletes and athletes with vision impairment or cognitive issues. The competition program includes track and field events, throwing and jumping events, and the marathon.

Athletes compete in a wheelchair or using prosthetic legs or arms (artificial limbs), while blind athletes compete with the help of a guide.

To access all resources including records, rulebooks, results, training information, etc. for track and field, please visit the Adaptive Track & Field USA website using the link to the right.

Competition Descriptions

The 100 m event. It is the shortest distance in official sprint events. Every athlete runs in his own lane (In junior competitions some athletes compete in the 40m, and 60m).

The 200 m event. The 200 m is the modern equivalent of the ancient “stadium” event of 192.27 m. Many 100 m athletes also compete in the 200 m event, since these two events require similar abilities.

The 400 m event. It involves total coverage of the perimeter of the stadium and is considered an extended speed event. The 400 m is the modern equivalent of the ancient “diavlos” event of 2 x 192.27 m.

The 800 m event. This distance combines speed and endurance as well as tactics with athletes completing two laps of the stadium.
The 1,500 m event. Many 800 m athletes also compete in the 1,500 m since these two events require similar abilities.

The 5,000 m event. This event is similar to the “Dolikhos” of the ancient Olympic Games which consisted of twenty-five laps of the stadium (approximately 4,800 m).

The 10,000 m event. It is the longest distance run inside the stadium, however it as not been apart of the sport since 2000.

4 x 100 m event and 4 x 400m event

Relay events can be traced to the ancient custom of sending messages via a series of couriers (skytalodromi or ‘runners with a message stick’). Each courier handed the stick over to the next until its destination was safely reached. In the relay event there are four runners from each country. Each runner covers a part of the distance before handing over the baton to the next runner. Changeovers have special rules and techniques and must be made within a specified area.

Men’s and Women’s Marathon constitutes the Paralympic Games road events. The Marathon is run over public roads.

The Club is only available to be thrown for the low class CP athletes.

Field is contested either Seated, for athletes with a class of F30 -34 or F 51-F57, or Ambulatory, for classes F11-13, F20, F35-F38, F40-F47.

There are specific rules that govern how seated throws are performed from the physical chairs specifications to how athletes are to position themselves in the chair and how they throw (see the ATFUSA rule book at for specifics).

Depending on the athlete’s classification and Age Group will determine the weight of the shot, discus or javelin the athlete will use.

The jump events use track classes.