First Paralympic Games: when did the Paralympics start, where was it held - sports played and nations competed

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games is the 16th instalment of the Paralympics

The 2021 Paralympics in Tokyo is the 16th instalment of the Summer Paralympic Games.

With 4,350 athletes competing across 22 different sports - including two new ones - in 539 events, Tokyo 2020 promises to be the biggest Paralympics yet.

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Japan’s capital hosted the Paralympics once before - in 1964 - prompting many to search the internet in search of when the first Paralympic Games was held and where.

Here’s all you need to know about the first Paralympics.

When was the first Paralympics?

The first ever Summer Paralympic Games was held in 1960 in what event officials called "a tremendous step forward in sport for athletes with physical disabilities".

The founder of the Paralympic Movement, Sir Ludwig Guttmann, and the Director of the Spinal Centre in Rome, Antonia Maglio, started preparations for the Games two years prior.

It would be called the 9th Annual International Stoke Mandeville Games.

The Games involved 400 Para athletes from 23 countries who competed in 57 medal events across eight sports.

The competition took place six days after the Closing Ceremony of the XVII Olympic Games.

Where was the first Paralympics held?

Rome, Italy, was the chosen setting for the first Paralympic Games in 1960.

The second Paralympic Games were held in Tokyo, Japan, in 1964 - the same city to host the 16th instalment of the Paralympics in 2021.

Israel’s Tel Aviv hosted in 1968; Heidelberg, West Germany in 1972; Toronto, Canada in 1976; Arnhem, Netherlands in 1980; New York City, United States in 1984; Seoul, South Korea in 1988, Barcelona and Madrid, Spain, in 1992; Atlanta, United States in 1996; Sydney, Australia in 2000; Athens, Greece in 2004; Beijing, China in 2008; London, United Kingdom in 2012; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016.

What sports were there at the first Paralympics?

A total of eight different sports debuted at the first Paralympic Games, all of which were considered beneficial and suitable for athletes with spinal cord injuries.

The eight sports at the first Paralympics were archery, para athletics, dartchery, snooker, para swimming, table tennis, wheelchair fencing and wheelchair basketball.

Which nations competed at the first Paralympics?

A total of 23 nations were represented at the first Paralympics in Rome 1960.

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Great Britain, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Rhodesia, Sweden, Switzerland, United States, and West Germany all had athletes at the Games.

It was host nation, Italy, who topped the medal table at the first Paralympic Games with 29 gold medals, 28 silver, and 23 bronze, totalling 80 overall.

Great Britain came second in the standings with 20 golds and 55 medals overall, followed by West Germany with 15 golds and 30 medals overall.

Austria won 11 golds and 30 medals overall while the United States made up the top five ranked nations at the opening Paralympics with 11 golds and 25 medals in all.