World Para Athletics launches membership consultation to Paris 2024

Proposal aim to strengthen competition programme, increasing opportunities for female athletes and athletes with High Support Needs 20 Nov 2020
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The view of a stadium with a red athletics track seen by the starting line
ⒸAtsushi Tomura/Getty Images
By World Para Athletics

World Para Athletics have launched a membership consultation about the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games medal event programme. 

It includes a number of events which are still open to be discussed with the National Paralympic Committees (NPCs), prior to the final submission to the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Governing Board.

The medal programme for the Paris 2024 Paralympics is set to be confirmed by the IPC Governing Board during the first quarter of 2021. 

World Para Athletics’ proposal aim to strengthen the competition programme and increase opportunities for female athletes and athletes with High Support Needs (HSN). At the same time, the programme reflects the development of the sport, with new classes, new events and more participants, allowing fair, strong, exciting and competitive fields. 

In terms of opportunities for HSN athletes, World Para Athletics propose the inclusion of frame running (formerly known as race running) events in the Paralympic Games programme. 

The frame running events in both genders had their debut at the World Championships last year in Dubai, UAE.

The changes also reflect World Para Athletics’ ambition to provide a better gender balance in the event programme for Paris 2024 compared to Tokyo 2020 – which will see 93 male and 74 female events, plus one mixed event. 

The number of medal events and athlete quota at the Games is restricted, and therefore World Para Athletics must propose an event programme that is within the boundaries set by the IPC. 

As the number of event opportunities in each sport class on the programme is largely dependent on the population of athletes in the rankings, where a sport class is widely populated, that sport class will have more event opportunities on the programme. 

As the population of some sport classes has grown over the past cycle, it was necessary for World Para Athletics to recognise and reflect their growth, and to ensure fair distribution of event opportunities across all classes. With a restricted medal event programme, this meant that some event opportunities needed to be reduced to make way for those other sport classes. 

“World Para Athletics was tasked to maintain an event programme that is fair, exciting, and well-rounded and showcases every element of our sport which is diverse in nature.” Haozhe Gao, Head of World Para Athletics, said.

“When we talk about fair representation, this means that the number of event opportunities for a sport class should be reflective of the athlete population demonstrated through the rankings while continuing to improve gender balance and safeguard events for athletes with High Support Needs. We understand the implication of the proposed changes having impact on some events and athletes, but they aim to benefit our sport as a whole in a long run. There are many athletes who have not yet had the chance to participate at the Paralympic Games, and now is the time to give them their chance to shine on the centre stage.,” Gao added.

NPCs have been requested to provide feedback about the Paris 2024 medal programme until 14 December.