When does the Paralympics 2021 start? Date and time of opening ceremony - and how to watch coverage on TV

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Channel 4 will broadcast hundreds of hours of Paralympics content this summer – here’s everything you need to know

The Olympics may have recently come to a close, but our bumper Summer of Sport is far from over, with the Paralympics now kicking into gear.

Taking place in Tokyo – the second time the city has hosted the Paralympics – the games are a chance for athletes with a range of disabilities to showcase their talents on the world stage.

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A total of 540 events in 22 sports will be competed in during the 2020 Paralympics, and there are even some new sports that have been added to the line-up.

But what are they, and how can sports fans in the UK keep up with all the action?

Here is everything you need to know about it.

When are the Paralympic Games?

The games, which were initially delayed because of the pandemic, will take place from 24 August to 6 September in Tokyo.

When is the opening ceremony?

The 2020 Summer Paralympics opening ceremony is scheduled to take place on 24 August. It will be broadcast live on television in the UK (more details on that below), and will kick off around midday UK time.

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The Japan National Stadium, also referred to as the Olympic Stadium, is to serve as the venue for the opening ceremony, as it did for the Olympic Games.

The Refugee Paralympic Team – a team consisting of six refugee and asylee Paralympic athletes who represent the millions of refugees around the world – will enter first in the parade of nations.

Are there any new sports?

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will see the introduction of badminton and taekwondo to the Paralympic programme.

These two new sports are replacing sailing and 7-a-side football, both of which were dropped due to an “insufficient international reach”.

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Who will be competing for Team GB?

Can discus champion Dan Greaves become the first Briton to win a medal at six successive Paralympic Games in athletics? (Photo: GLYN KIRK/AFP/GettyImages)Can discus champion Dan Greaves become the first Briton to win a medal at six successive Paralympic Games in athletics? (Photo: GLYN KIRK/AFP/GettyImages)
Can discus champion Dan Greaves become the first Briton to win a medal at six successive Paralympic Games in athletics? (Photo: GLYN KIRK/AFP/GettyImages)

A whole host of athletes will be competing for Team GB at the Paralympic games, many of whom are sure to become household names by the time the event is over.

For now, we’ve highlighted some of the standout names.

Discus champion Dan Greaves has said the prospect of becoming the first Briton to win a medal at six successive Paralympic Games in athletics is fuelling his motivation for Tokyo.

He shares the current record of five with wheelchair racer Tanni Grey-Thompson, having stood on the podium in Sydney, Athens, Beijing, London, and Rio.

Reigning Paralympic champion Jonnie Peacock has been selected for the T64 100m, and will bid to make it a hat-trick of Paralympic titles in Tokyo following glory at London 2012 and Rio 2016.

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Equestrian great Sir Lee Pearson expects further Paralympic glory to bring out his emotional side as he prepares for his maiden Games competing on a homebred horse.

Pearson travels to Tokyo 2020 seeking to add to his remarkable haul of 11 gold medals gained across five previous Paralympics.

He will be joined by fellow equestrian champions Sophie Christiansen, Natasha Baker and Sophie Wells, each multiple gold medallists.

In July, defending Paralympic champions Will Bayley and Rob Davies were named in Great Britain’s 13-person table tennis squad, while Paralympic swimming champion Claire Cashmore was named in Great Britain’s eight-person triathlon team for Tokyo.

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How can I watch the games?

Channel 4 will broadcast more than 300 hours of Paralympics content this summer.

More 4 will be a dedicated team sports channel live from Tokyo which will see matches featuring ParalympicsGB teams in wheelchair rugby and wheelchair basketball.

Channel 4 will also show 16 livestreams on its Paralympics microsite, showing more than 1,000 hours of coverage.

The broadcaster has pledged that more than 70 per cent of its presenting team for the Paralympics will be disabled.

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Presenters will include wheelchair basketball player Ade Adepitan, who will front the highlights show Today In Tokyo from Japan, as well as disability advocate Sophie Morgan, former Royal Marine Commando and Strictly Come Dancing star JJ Chalmers and former professional rugby player Ed Jackson.

Lee McKenzie and Vick Hope will be reporting from Japan, while in the UK Clare Balding will present live sport finals, and Arthur Williams and Steph McGovern will head a daily Paralympics Breakfast Show.

Andrew Parsons, president of the International Paralympic Committee, said: “Channel 4 continues to set the benchmark for how all other broadcasters around the world cover the Paralympics, not just in terms of Games-time coverage and the diversity of on-screen talent, but with regards to engagement and promotion.

“With this latest campaign, Channel 4 have raised the standard once more, promoting the Paralympics on an equal footing as any other major global sport event.

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“It is testament to Channel 4’s outstanding commitment to Paralympic broadcasting and promotion that Paralympians are household names in the UK and British TV features more on-screen talent with disabilities than any other country."

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