IPC places an emphasis on further competition opportunities for women and athletes with higher support needs

There will be a significant increase in events offered to women and athletes with higher support needs at the 2024 Paralympic Games. Significant changes have also been made team sports.

Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games - Athletics - Women's Marathon - T54 - Tokyo, Japan - September 5, 2021.  Eliza Ault-Connell of Australia and Christie Dawes of Australia in action REUTERS/Marko Djurica
Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games - Athletics - Women's Marathon - T54 - Tokyo, Japan - September 5, 2021. Eliza Ault-Connell of Australia and Christie Dawes of Australia in action REUTERS/Marko Djurica

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced the program of medal events and quota allocations by sport for the 2024 Summer Paralympic Games. The medals events program has grown by ten events from Tokyo 2020 to Paris 2024, with the total number of athletes in attendance at the Paralympic Games likely remaining similar to the number reached at Tokyo 2020.

Female para athletes were also big benefactors of the changes made to the medal events program and quota allocation. Women have seen an increase of eight medal events, and 77 gender specific quota places compared to Tokyo 2020. The total number of events offered to women now sits at 235, with 1,859 quotas set aside for female para athletes.

There’s a possibility the number of women competing at Paris 2024 will be higher than the number mentioned above, since there are 339 quotas available that are not tied to a specific gender. The IPC was quick to point out that the number of women competing at the 2024 Paralympics will likely be almost double the number of women who competed at the 2000 Paralympics at the start of the century.

Another group of athletes that will benefit from the changes made to the medal events program are athletes with higher support needs. Boccia, judo, and rowing have all seen an increase in events catered to athletes with higher support needs.

Here too, female para athletes will see a benefit as well, as events for athletes with higher support needs were added for both genders.

Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games - Wheelchair Basketball - Men's Gold Medal Match - United States vs Japan - Ariake Arena, Tokyo, Japan - September 5, 2021. General view during the match REUTERS/Molly Darlington
Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games - Wheelchair Basketball - Men's Gold Medal Match - United States vs Japan - Ariake Arena, Tokyo, Japan - September 5, 2021. General view during the match REUTERS/Molly Darlington

A group of sports that was negatively impacted by the changes, with some losing a good amount of quotas, was team sports. The IPC decided to standardize the number of teams invited to participate in team sports, setting the number at eight teams per event.

In a press release, the IPC claimed the move “has created new opportunities for athletes in other sport events and, in line with Olympic Agenda 2020+5, reduced costs for the Organising Committee as one less competition venue is required.”

The sport most affected by the standardization is wheelchair basketball. The sport, which was nearly kicked off the Paralympic program entirely due to an athlete classification disagreement with the IPC, loses four men’s teams and two women’s teams. Goalball also loses two teams per gender under the changes.

The four newest sports contested at the Paralympic Games have all seen an increase in the events they’ll offer at Paris 2024. Four more events were added in taekwondo, two in badminton, and one in canoe. All three sports have now achieved full gender parity within their medal events program. Para triathlon had its medal events program increased by three events, but failed to achieve gender parity with one more event on offer for men.

Two of the more traditional para sports had the number of events they’ll offer at the Paralympics decreased by the IPC. Para athletics lost three events, while para swimming had its program reduced by five. Both sports have also seen a decrease in quotas offered.

Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games - Taekwondo - Women K44 +58kg Quarterfinal - Makuhari Messe Hall B, Chiba, Japan - September 4, 2021. Debora Bezerra De Menezes of Brazil in action against Daniela Andrea Martinez Mariscal of Mexico REUTERS/Molly Darlington
Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games - Taekwondo - Women K44 +58kg Quarterfinal - Makuhari Messe Hall B, Chiba, Japan - September 4, 2021. Debora Bezerra De Menezes of Brazil in action against Daniela Andrea Martinez Mariscal of Mexico REUTERS/Molly Darlington

Commenting on the announcement of the medal events program, IPC President Andrew Parsons stated, “for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games we are increasing the number of competition opportunities for women and athletes with high support needs, fulfilling two ambitions of the Paralympic Movement.”

“To almost double the number of women taking part in the Paralympic Games in less than 25 years is rapid progress but the fact we do not yet have gender parity underlines that there is still much work to do.

“In addition to providing more opportunities for athletes with high support needs across three sports, Paris 2024 will also have a uniform look to all team sports with eight teams participating in each competition. This helps improve efficiencies for the organisers, drives greater gender parity and increases competition opportunities for athletes in other sports.

“Huge credit needs to go to all international federations who are part of the Paris 2024 Paralympic programme. All have made great progress in recent years and piecing together the final medal events programme and quotas was a complex exercise.

“With the medal events programme and athlete quotas now announced, National Paralympic Committees and athletes can start their preparations in earnest for what will be spectacular Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.”

In total, the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games will feature a maximum of 4,400 Para athletes who will compete in 549 medal events across 22 Para sports. The Games are scheduled to run from August 28 to September 8, 2024.