After 10 months of consultation with international federations, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced the eagerly awaited medals programme for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in September.
The programme features more slots for female athletes than ever before and more opportunities for athletes with high support needs, perfect reasons why the Tokyo 2020 medals event programme is No. 11 on the IPC’s Top 50 Moments of 2017.
Back in 2016 the IPC invited international federations to put forward their suggestions for medal events at the next summer Games. Between them, they proposed 555 events which they hoped would be contested by 4,979 athletes.
In the end, the final programme determined that 4,400 athletes will compete in 537 medal events.
As with previous Games, the number of slots for female athletes increased to 1,756, up 17 per cent on the number who competed at London 2012. This number is likely to increase further due to the allocation of 294 gender free slots.
The decision to award more female slots was warmly welcomed by Chelsey Gotell, Chair of the IPC Athletes’ Council: "I am particularly pleased that Tokyo 2020 will feature more women than ever before and an increase in athletes with high support needs. This is a great step in the right direction and the international federations and IPC should be congratulated for this move.”
Seven sports – boccia, canoe, judo, shooting, table tennis, triathlon and wheelchair fencing – all received additional athlete slots compared to Rio 2016, a move that pleased BISFed President David Hadfield.
“I am delighted with this outcome which follows partly as a result of our efforts to grow boccia around the world. One of our main objectives is to give more opportunities to more athletes, and I am already looking forward to seeing new athletes competing in Tokyo,” he said.
Also delighted at the IPC’s announcement was Poul-Erik Hoyer, President of the Badminton World Federation (BWF), a sport that along with taekwondo will make its Paralympic debut at Tokyo 2020.
“Having 14 medal events, across which to showcase the diversity and excitement of Para badminton, will benefit both the sport and our athletes in the different disciplines. BWF is committed to producing an inspiring Para badminton debut that adds value to the Tokyo 2020 Sports Programme,” said Høyer.
Canoe, a Rio 2016 debutant, is one of four sports that will have more medal events at Tokyo 2020. Shooting, table tennis and wheelchair fencing are the others to benefit.
The final list of events for athletics, swimming and triathlon will be published at later dates
Sir Philip Craven, the IPC’s President at the time of the announcement said: “It is testament to the strength of Paralympic sport and the work of the international federations that the competition to secure medal events and athletes quotas at the Paralympic Games is now equally as competitive and hotly contested as the action on the field of play.”
The countdown of the IPC’s Top 50 Moments continues until 31 December.