With 70 days to go, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has confirmed that 82 percent of athlete slots have been awarded for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics and that a record number of National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) could take part in this Games.
By Monday, 14 June 2021, 3,602 qualification slots and 61 Universality Wildcards had been awarded, covering all 22 sports.
In nine sports – boccia, canoe, equestrian, football 5-a-side, goalball, taekwondo, sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby - all qualification slots have now been awarded. In a further seven sports – badminton, cycling, rowing, swimming, table tennis, wheelchair fencing and wheelchair tennis – only bipartite invitations remain to be awarded.
Bipartite slots are awarded to ensure representation of athletes with high support needs, enable greater representation by gender, and ensure participation of top athletes who may not have had the opportunity to formally qualify through other methods.
To date, 168 NPCs have been awarded at least one qualification slot or one Wildcard. Should all of these NPCs enter their respective athletes, then Tokyo 2020 will be the biggest Paralympic Games to date, surpassing the 164 NPCs that took part in London 2012.
Colleen Wrenn, the IPC’s Chief Paralympic Games Delivery Officer said: “With 10 weeks to go until the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony, we are very much on course in terms of qualification.
“Huge credit needs to go to the International Federations for not just staging qualification events during the last 16 months but doing so safely.
“To have 168 NPCs secure their participation so far is an outstanding result and puts us on course to set a new record in terms of global participation at the Games. With some NPCs looking to compete at the Games for the first time, it underlines the growing strength, breadth, and depth of the Paralympic Movement. Our hope now is that all NPCs take up their slots and Wildcards and ensure Tokyo 2020 are record breaking Games.”
Ongoing qualification and classification
Qualification is ongoing in six sports – archery, athletics, judo, powerlifting, shooting and triathlon. Many forthcoming events across several sports are also providing an opportunity for athlete classification.
Following extensive consultation with International Federations and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the IPC is scoping for the possibility of conducting classification in 10 Para sports in the host city ahead of the Paralympics.
“It is fair to say the pandemic has played havoc with classification opportunities around the globe over the last 16 months,” added Wrenn. “What we are trying to do now is work with International Federations and National Paralympic Committees to classify as many athletes as possible prior to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Despite this, it is clear some athletes will still need to be classified in Tokyo ahead of the Games. Although this is not ideal, it is the situation we face.”
The IPC estimates that more than 80 percent of all Para athletes attending Tokyo 2020 will be vaccinated ahead of the Games.
Wrenn added: “It is tremendous news that more than 80 percent of the athletes attending the Paralympic Games will be vaccinated and we hope this number can rise further in the coming weeks.
“We encourage all Games participants to try get vaccinated prior to Tokyo 2020 and are grateful for the IOC’s effort in securing vaccines through Pfizer BionTech and the Chinese Olympic Committee.”
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will take place between 24 August and 5 September 2021.