One in every four athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will be competing in Para athletics. The venue will be the National Olympic Stadium, which will also host the Paralympics Opening and Closing ceremonies.
Action begins on Friday 27 August, day four of the Games, with 14 finals. Six of them take place in the morning session with the men’s 5000m T11 winner receiving the first Para athletics gold medal.
The evening sessions hosts eight finals, including the men’s 100m T47 which may see a new fastest ever time in Paralympic history.
Here is all you need to know about the Tokyo 2020 Para athletics day one!
The women’s discuss throw F55 is the opening event at this year’s Games. China’s Feixia Dong will be defending her title but it is Colombia’s Erica Castano who will arrive in Japan as the current world champion.
Fourth-placed at Rio 2016, Castano forced Dong to settle for silver at the Dubai 2019 Worlds. Latvia’s Diana Daditze is another one to watch as the London 2017 world champion and bronze medallist in Rio and Dubai.
There will be plenty of medal contenders in the women’s long jump T11 such as Ukraine’s European champion and Dubai silver medallist Yuliia Pavlenko and Brazil’s Lorena Spoladore, bronze at Rio 2016.
World record holder Silvania Costa of Brazil will be making a return to a major Para athletics event to defend her Rio 2016 gold medal.
Tunisia’s Raoua Tlili will be the name to beat in the women’s shot put F41. Three-time world champion and defending Paralympic champion she will face strong opposition from two athletes making their Paralympic debut, Argentina’s Antonella Ruiz Diaz, silver at Dubai 2019, and Morocco’s Youssra Karim.
Kenya will come strong again in the men’s 5000m T11 with Rio 2016 bronze medallist Wilson Bii and Rodgers Kiprop who made his international debut in 2019
Dubai 2019 silver medallist, RPC’s Fedor Rudakov is another one to watch in the race as Lima 2019 Parapan American champion Darwin Castro of Ecuador.
Japan’s Kenya Karasawa may share his name with the African country but he is a medal hope for the host nation as the 2021 world ranking number 1 with a time that would have given him gold at Rio 2016.
The first female track racer to be crowned Paralympic champion will come in the women’s 100m T35. Australia’s world record holder and Rio 2016 silver medallist Isis Holt will be going for her first Paralympic gold against Dubai 2019 world champion Maria Lyle of Great Britain.
China’s Zhou Xia will be defending her Paralympic title in her first major event since the London 2017 World Championships.
The last event on day one’s morning session will be the men’s javelin F38. Australia’s Corey Anderson will be making his Paralympic debut as one of his country’s leading gold medal contenders in Japan.
The world record holder and current world champion will face a strong field with South Africa’s Rio 2016 champion Reinhardt Hamman, Colombia’s Parapan American champion and Rio silver medallist Luis Fernando Lucumi and European champion Vladyslav Bilyi of Ukraine.
The men’s shot put F55 will kick off the evening session with Bulgaria’s Ruzhdi Ruzhdi set to add another gold to his impressive collection. Rio 2016 champion, Ruzhdi topped the podium in the last three World Championships and four European Championships, including this year’s tournament in Bydgoszcz.
USA’s Lex Gillette will be going for the only gold that has eluded him in the men’s long jump T11 final. A two-time world champion, Gillette has four Paralympic silver medals and has been the number 2 since Athens 2004.
China’s Di Dongdong finished third behind Gillette at Dubai 2019 and will be making his Paralympic debut in the long jump after competing in sprint races at Rio 2016 taking a silver in the men’s 4x100m relay T11-13.
The women’s club throw F32 final will see Algeria’s Mounia Gasmi in search of her first Paralympic gold after silver medals at London 2012 and Rio 2016.
She won the world title at London 2017 and took silver at Dubai 2019 ahead of Ukraine’s Anastasia Moskalenko. The 21-year-old Ukrainian will make her Paralympic debut as the two-time European champion.
The event will mark the Games debut of Alia Issa, one of the six athletes and the only woman to compete for the Refugee Paralympic Team (RPT) at Tokyo 2020.
China’s world record holder and Dubai 2019 champion Xiaoyan Wen will lead the way in the women’s 200m T37. But France’s Mandy Francois-Elie has speed and experience to take home the gold.
She finished second behind Wen in Dubai but will arrive in Tokyo as the reigning European champion after she beat London 2017 champion Nataliia Kobzar of Ukraine at Bydgoszcz 2021.
Dubai 2019 world champion Andrei Vdonin of RPC and South Africa’s world record holder and defending Paralympic champion Charl du Toit will be going head-to-head in the men’s 100m T37.
USA’s Nick Mayhugh will be trying to steal the show as the 2021 world ranking number one.
The men’s 100m T47 final on Friday 27 August will answer a very important question: how fast can Petrucio Ferreira go? Only Ireland’s Jason Smyth has been faster than him in Paralympic history.
Smyth clocked 10.46 to win gold in the men’s 100m T12 at London 2012. Ferreira’s Paralympic record is currently at 10.57 from his Rio 2016 gold medal. But the Brazilian became the fastest male sprinter ever in a World Para Athletics championships with his 10.42 run at Dubai 2019.
A two-time world champion, Ferreira will be going for his second Paralympic gold in Tokyo. Dubai 2019 silver medallist Washington Junior may repeat a Brazil one-two finish in Tokyo.
RPC’s Albert Khinchagov is the reigning world champion in the men's shot put F37 who will be aiming for his first Paralympic medal. Rio 2016 champion Mindaugas Bilius will not be defending his title as he now is the President of the Lithuanian Paralympic Committee.
Khinchagov won gold at the Bydgoszcz 2021 European Championships ahead of Lithuania’s Donatas Dundzys, also a World Championships medallist.
The event will see in action another member of the Refugee Paralympic Team, Shahrad Nasajpour, who was part of the first RPT delegation at Rio 2016.
The men’s 400m T52 will close the opening day at Tokyo 2020 with the first wheelchair race final in the Games.
All eyes will be on local star Tomoki Sato who is the current world record holder and three-time world champion. He took silver at Rio 2016 finishing behind USA’s Raymond Martin who will be going for his third Paralympic gold.
Complete schedule and results from Para athletics at Tokyo 2020 will be available on Paralympic.org.