Star-studded Para athletics competition set to start in Tokyo

Athletes from 156 nations will compete in 167 medal events during the 10-day action at the National Olympic stadium 26 Aug 2021
Agitos logo in front of the Olympic Stadium at Tokyo 2020
The National Olympic Stadium in Tokyo will host the Para athletics action from 27 August to 5 September during the Paralympic Games
By OIS and World Para Athletics

The biggest sport in the Paralympic Games kicks off on Friday (27 August) with 1,147 Para athletes from 156 National Paralympic Committees set to compete in Para athletics at the National Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.

There will be 167 medal events and plenty of stars during 10 days of intense action.  

Brazil’s Petrucio Ferreira and the USA’s Tatyana McFadden are amongst the biggest stars in track events, while Markus Rehm from Germany and Raoua Tlili from Tunisia lead the way in jump and field events, respectively.

Track events

Petrucio Ferreira plans on living up to his billing as the Usain Bolt of Para athletics at Tokyo 2020.

The Brazilian could become the fastest Paralympian in history in the men’s T47 100m on the first day of competition on a super-fast track where numerous world and Olympic records were shattered during the Olympic Games.

The Rio 2016 gold medallist is the fastest Para sprinter ever in an official Para athletics event, clocking 10.42 seconds in the semi-finals at the Dubai 2019 World Championships before later winning gold (10.44s).

“Which athlete, which runner, doesn’t mirror himself on a great athlete like Bolt?” the 24-year-old said of Jamaica’s sprinting superstar, who won eight Olympic Games gold medals.

“Being compared to him, being called the Paralympic Usain Bolt, makes me really happy. I mean, really, really happy.

“It is really cool to be compared to such an athletics icon. Even if he has retired, his story is there, as well as his records.

“This [setting a world record] is my personal goal in every competition. When I get to events, I just have to be myself. Here it will be no different,” added the Brazilian sprinter. "I have to be Petrucio and do what I like to do: running around like a child [laughs].”

Republic of Ireland’s Jason Smyth is currently the fastest in Paralympic history, having clocked 10.46s to win T13 gold at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. He goes for his sixth Paralympic title on Sunday.

Wheelchair racer Tatyana McFadden from the USA can cement her status as one of the greatest Para athletes ever. She has amassed 17 medals, seven of them gold, including cross-country skiing silver at the Winter Games in Sochi 2014.

McFadden is scheduled to compete in five individual events during the 10 days of competition, including the T54 5000m, with the heats on the opening day on Friday.

The 32-year-old could also feature in the universal 4x100m relay which is being held for the first time at a Paralympics.

Each team must comprise two men and two women and include a representative from four different classifications. A wheelchair athlete will line up for the anchor leg.

Five-time gold medallists Omara Durand from Cuba, the fastest female Paralympian ever, and Great Britain’s Hannah Cockroft, are also among the stars competing in Tokyo.

jump & field events

Markus Rehm from Germany is set to take long jump into uncharted territory when he defends his title at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

The German only set the world record of 8.62m - a distance bettered by just 14 able-bodied athletes in history - in June, but that mark will surely be under threat in the T64 competition on 1 September.

“My form, it’s the best I’ve ever had,” Rehm, nicknamed Blade Jumper, said. “Not just the 8.62m jump but my other jumps as well. I’ve had a lot of 8.40s this season.

“I’ve heard it’s a fast track and a great track to jump. We saw a triple jump world record in the Olympic Games, and it would be great to have a similar headline here at the Paralympic Games,” added Rehm.

“I would lie if I said silver would be fine - that’s not true. I would like to win gold, defend the title of Paralympic champion. The distance, I will see. It’s all about the conditions.”

Shot putter Assunta Legnante from Italy will not only bid for a third Paralympic title in the F12 event but hopes to make it a golden double in the discus having finished fourth at Rio 2016.

“It’s a new love for me, a new motivation,” Legnante, who competed at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, said. “I enjoy the discus more now. But I still keep my shot put passion alive since it’s been 28 years that I've been a shot putter."

Tunisia’s Raoua Tlili will be aiming to repeat her F41 shot put and discus double from Rio 2016. In the shot, her golden run stretches back to Beijing 2008.

In the men’s F46 javelin, Devendra from India will be out to defend the title he won in Rio 2016. That success came 12 years after he won his other Paralympic gold at Athens 2004.

The Para athletics programme will end on 5 September, closing day of the Paralympic Games, with five marathon races starting and finishing at the National Olympic Stadium.

Complete schedule and results from Para athletics competition at Tokyo 2020 will be available on