Which new sports are in the Paralympics 2021? Why Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will feature two new sports

Rules, events, schedule and ones to watch out for in para badminton and para taekwondo as both sports make their Paralympics debut in Japan

Billed as one of the most exciting racket sports, badminton will make its Paralympics debut in Tokyo following the IPC’s decision to include the sport alongside taekwondo. (Pic: Getty)

There will be a total of 22 sports at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, including two new ones added to the Paralympics schedule for the first time.

Each of the 160 countries with athletes at the Paralympics were represented at the opening ceremony on Tuesday 24 August 2021, with the action starting the following day.

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With 4,350 athletes in all competing across 539 events, the Tokyo Paralympics promises to be another spectacular sporting spectacle following in the footsteps of the Olympic Games.

Here’s all you need to know about the new sports at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics and those sports to have missed out from Rio 2016.

Which new sports are in the Tokyo Paralympics?

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) made the decision in 2015 to include para badminton and para taekwondo for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

IPC president Sir Philip Craven said: "I’d like to pay testament to the sports of badminton and taekwondo for the work they have undertaken in securing their place at a Paralympic Games for the first time.

"To reach this decision, the IPC undertook the most extensive and rigorous review process ever of all the sports which started in November 2013. All were assessed against the same criteria and our aim all along has been to ensure that the final Tokyo 2020 Paralympic sports programme is fresh and features the best para-sports possible."

While two new sports were added to the 2020 schedule, two sports missed out from Rio 2016 - 7-a-side football and sailing - to accommodate their inclusion.

What is para badminton?

Billed as one of the most exciting racket sports, badminton will make its Paralympics debut in Tokyo following the IPC’s decision to include the sport alongside taekwondo.

There will be 14 badminton events - seven men’s, six women’s and one mixed - for Tokyo 2020, with 90 players competing in the singles, doubles and mixed doubles events.

The IPC included the sport at the Games in recognition of its global growth, after international tournaments stretching back to the early 1990s and the first world championships held in 1998.

More than 230 athletes representing 35 countries competed at the 10th world championships in 2015, while the game is now played in more than 60 countries across five continents.

The badminton events at Tokyo 2020 are:

  • Singles WH1 (Men/Women)
  • Singles WH2 (Men/Women)
  • Singles SL3 (Men)
  • Singles SL4 (Men/Women)
  • Singles SU5 (Men/Women)
  • Singles SH6 (Men)
  • Doubles WH (Men/Women)
  • Doubles SL/SU (Women/Mixed)

Winners in all events will be decided by the best of three format, with the first to 11 points claiming the game. Height of the net is the same for all classes.

Singles events in the two wheelchair classes use half the court, with shuttles falling between the net and a service line placed close to the net considered out of bounds.

Ones to watch: Lee Sam Seop (Republic of Korea) and Cathrine Rosengren (Denmark)

Schedule: 1-5 Sept

What is para taekwondo?

Para taekwondo is a relatively new sport, with its inclusion at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics designed to help interest grow worldwide in the all-action martial art.

It’s first world championships was held in 2009.

While there are two disciplines of para taekwondo, only one - Kyorugi for athletes with upper limb impairments - will be competed at the 2021 Paralympic Games.

There are six different events at Tokyo 2020:

  • Men K44 -61kg
  • Men K44 -75kg
  • Men K44 +75kg
  • Women K44 -49kg
  • Women K44 -58kg
  • Women K44 +58kg

Matches take place on the same octagonal court as Olympic competition, over 3 x 2 minute rounds with 1 minute rest intervals.

Athletes are awarded between two and four points for valid attacks. Only kicks to the trunk count as valid attacks at the Paralympics - kicks to the head are not permitted.

If the scores are tied after three rounds, an extra round is held.

Head and trunk protection will be worn in all bouts.

Ones to watch: Bolor-Erdene Ganbat (Mongolia)

Schedule: 2-4 Sept