10 July 2023

Enlightening: the races

The fourth and final presentation of the various disciplines on show at PARIS’23. Let’s find out more about the racing events.

From July 8 to 17, 2023, no less than 367 races will take place during the ten days of competition at the Charléty Stadium. You will be able to admire the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, 5000m with different adaptations according to the handicaps. The main event of these world championships will be the universal relay. This is a 4x100m event in which all disability groups are represented, with athletes with visual impairments, cerebral palsy, paralysis and lower-limb amputations.

In front of the class number is the letter T, which stands for Track for track events.

Sprint and long-distance races cover 20 disability categories

Frame runner: T72 (races with a tricycle without pedals for people with neurological, balance and tonus problems)

Athletes standing:

  • Visually impaired: T11 (blind with guide), T12 (very partially sighted with or without guide), T13 (partially sighted without guide)
  • People with intellectual disabilities : T20
  • Motor deficiencies of cerebral origin: T35 (impairment of both lower limbs), T36 (balance and/or coordination disorders), T37 (impairment of one side of the body), T38 (one or other of the 3 preceding classes but less severely affected).
  • Athlètes sans prothèses de membres inférieurs ou similaires : T44 (amputés des membres inférieurs sans prothèses ou similaires) T46-47 (amputés ou similaires)
  • Athletes with fitted lower limb(s): T61 (absence of both lower limbs above the knee), T62 (amputation or agenesis of both lower limbs below the knee), T63 (absence of one lower limb above the knee), T64 (absence of one lower limb below the knee).

Wheelchair athletes:

  • Cerebral palsy: T33 (very limited movement of the lower limbs and moderate movement of the upper body), T34 (very limited movement of the lower limbs and little or no limitation of the upper body).
  • Paralyzed or Amputee Athletes: T51 (moderately limited shoulder movement. Movement of the rest of the body very limited), T52 (limited movement of the arms, very limited movement of the rest of the body), T53 (very limited trunk and lower body movement), T54 (Amputation, malformations of the lower limbs or paralysis of the lower body)

Visually impaired athletes

For the visually impaired, category T11 (blind) requires the presence of a valid guide. Dans le T12, l’athlète a le choix de concourir avec ou sans guide. On the other hand, for the T13 category, the athlete having a more developed visual acuity, the presence of a guide is forbidden. For the T11 and T12 categories, only 4 athletes are engaged in a race; the 4 remaining lanes are dedicated to the guides.

In a two-person race, the athlete and guide hold a link in their hand to coordinate. At the finish line, the athlete must cross the line first without being dropped or pushed by his guide, under penalty of disqualification. If a link comes loose during a race, the pair is also disqualified.

Adaptations for standing athletes

For some standing athletes, the start will not be in a starting block. Sometimes an athlete’s disability does not allow them to kneel for a sprint start. Others, having one arm missing, can lean on a block to have stability at the start.

Wheelchair athletes

For wheelchair races, a helmet is mandatory for protection. The chair must also meet certain criteria to be approved. Be careful, in a wheelchair it goes very fast! The top speed can reach 35km/h.

All these classes aim to make competitions fair. The idea is to avoid that the least handicapped always wins.