Table Tennis at the Paralympic Games

Table tennis has been a part of the Paralympic programme ever since the first games during 1960 in Rome. Initially, it was played by athletes in wheelchairs. Then in the 1976 Toronto competition, a standing event was first introduced, then in Arnhem during 1980 an event for athletes with an intellectual impairment was included.

Fast forward until now it is the fourth largest Paralympic sport, with athletes in over 100 countries currently competing in the sport. Athletes will physical and intellectual impairments can compete, however athletes with visual impairments cannot.

There are both sitting and standing events, and the sport is open to both men and women who can compete in individual, doubles and team events. Traditionally, matches are played in a best of 5 format, with a score of 11 points winning each set. To score, athletes must hit the ball over the net into the opponents half, with their opponent failing to return it.

In terms of classifications, athletes are assessed on their functional ability and given a number between 1 and 10. Athletes with the same functional ability number will then compete against each other. There are 5 classes for those in wheelchairs, and 5 for those who are standing. A further 11 classifications are for standing athletes with an intellectual impairment. The tournaments follows a qualification round followed by knockout stages to determine the gold medallists.

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