Tokyo 2020 to exceed Rio 2016 participation as 162 delegations compete

Five nations to make their Paralympic Games debut 23 Aug 2021
Tokyo 2020 Stadium
ⒸYuichi Yamazaki/Getty Images

Tokyo 2020 will exceed Rio 2016 in terms of the number of National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) set to take part in the Paralympic Games.   

A total of 162 delegations, including the Refugee Paralympic Team and five nations making their Games debut, will compete across 22 sports.  There are 21 nations unable to compete. 

Tokyo 2020 beats Rio 2016 by three delegations (159), a remarkable achievement given the challenges of the last 18 months. London 2012 retains the title of most NPCs, with a 164 taking part. 

Andrew Parsons, IPC President, “To have 162 NPCs compete in Tokyo makes me extremely proud. The last 18 months have been the most challenging yet for everyone involved in the Paralympic Movement. Major credit needs to go to NPCs for preparing their athletes. It has been an epic and exhausting challenge for everyone involved, including the IPC management team, but one that has delivered excellent results. 

 “In Tokyo, in addition to the second appearance of the Refugee Paralympic Team, five NPCs will also make their Paralympic debut showing the growing breath of the Paralympic Movement. With only a day until the Games begin we could not be more excited and appreciative of the support of all the people that have made these amazing Games possible.” 


Five NPCs – Bhutan, Grenada, Maldives, Paraguay, and St Vincent and the Grenadines – will compete for the first time in a Paralympic Games at Tokyo 2020 and all are beneficiaries of the IPC’s NPC Development Programme. 

  • NPC Bhutan: 2 athletes both in athletics 

  • NPC Grenada: 2 athletes, 1 in athletics, 1 in swimming 

  • NPC Maldives: 2 athletes both in athletics 

  • NPC Paraguay: 2 athletes, 1 in athletics, 1 in swimming 

  • NPC St Vincent and the Grenadines: 1 athlete in swimming 

Parsons added: “I am so pleased for the five NPCs that will make their Paralympic debut at Tokyo 2020 as all five have been involved in activities of the NPC Development Programme in recent years. 

“It is always special to see an NPC make their first appearance at the Paralympic Games and, with all the challenges created by the pandemic, seeing these NPCs as part of the Opening Ceremony on 24 August will be an extra special and emotional moment for all concerned.” 


There are 21 nations unable to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games: 

  • Suspended by the IPC (4) – Comoros (COM); Djibouti (DJI); Seychelles (SEY); Sudan (SUD).   

  • No athletes competing (4) – Andorra (AND);  Antigua and Barbuda (ANT); Liechtenstein (LIE); San Marino (SMR). 

  • Travel issues due to pandemic (4) – Kiribati (KIR); Samoa (SAM);  Tonga (TGA); Vanuatu (VAN). 

  • Government decision or limited government support (4) – Brunei (BRU); Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (PRK); Turkmenistan (TKM); East Timor (TLS). 

  • Other reasons (3): Afghanistan (AFG); Myanmar (MYA); Trinidad & Tobago (TTO). 

  • Athlete decision not to travel: (2) Macao, China; Suriname.