The world’s top canoers hit Paralympic waters for the first time in history at Rio 2016. The sport is exactly like canoeing for able-bodied athletes, allowing those with physical impairments at all levels to enjoy the sport

Canoe made its debut as a Paralympic sport at Rio 2016



The two main boats are the kayak and va’a boats. Whilst the kayaks are the main Para canoe boats and are propelled by a double-blade paddle, the latter are outrigger canoes propelled by a single-blade paddle. Only kayaks were contested at Rio 2016.


Para canoe is a young sport which developed at the start of the century thanks to big efforts of the sport’s governing body International Canoe Federation (ICF) and the International Va Federation (IVF), who both pushed for the inclusion of Para canoe within abled-bodied competitions.

In 2009, the ICF organised the first Para canoe showcase event, which was a big success. One year later, Para canoe had its first World Championships and was included into the Paralympic programme at the IPC Governing Board meeting in Guangzhou, China.