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Understanding Paralympic athletics classification

Phase two of the Olympics has begun. On day one of the track events, running fans need to get familiar with the athlete classifications.

Canadian track championships
Canadian track championships
Jason Dunkerley and guide Josh Karanja compete in the men’s para 5000m final at the Athletics Canada 2016 Track and Field Trials at Foote Field in Edmonton on July 7.

This week in Rio, the Paralympics have officially kicked off. While the opening of this phase went ahead yesterday, today marks the first day of the action on the track. For this next portion of the Olympic Games though, there are a series of codes which refer to the classification an athlete falls into. For athletes involved in racing in the athletics portion of the Games, they fall into the “T” category, which stands for track. The number that follows refers to their disability. Understanding the classifications is simple. In order for track fans to understand the races better, we’ve included all of the categories below.

11-13: Visual impairment

20: Intellectual impairment

31-38: Coordination impairments

31-34: Requires use of wheelchair for coordination impairments

40-41: Short stature

42-44: Lower limb deficiency, impaired muscle function or range of movement

45-47: Upper limb deficiency, impaired muscle function or range of movement

51-57: Limb deficiencies requiring use of wheelchair