Sports Summary

Para-athletics has been contested at the Paralympic Games since the first Paralympic Games in Rome, Italy, in 1960.

Events are open to male and female athletes in all impairment groups eligible for Paralympic sport. Athletes compete according to their functional classifications in each event, with events continually being redefined to include as many athletes as possible.

Get involved in Para-sport: register your interest today!

Events & Disciplines

Athletes race over 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, 5000m and 10000m. 4x100m and 4x400m relays, marathons, club throw, discus, high jump, javelin, long jump, shot put and triple jump are also contested.


Who is eligible to compete in Para-athletics?

Intellectual Impairment Yes
Physical Impairment Yes
Vision Impairment Yes

What is an intellectual impairment?

An intellectual impairment is a limitation in intellectual functioning and adaptive behaviour as expressed in conceptual, social and practical adaptive skills, which develops before the age of 18.

What is a physical impairment?

A physical impairment is an impairment affecting the physical body and relates to one or more of the conditions listed below:

  • Ataxia
  • Athetosis
  • Hypertonia
  • Impaired muscle power
  • Impaired passive range of movement
  • Leg length difference
  • Limb deficiency
  • Short stature

What is a vision impairment?

A vision impairment is an impairment of the eye structure, optical nerves or pathways, or visual cortex, which impacts the vision in both eyes.

What are the classes?

Athletes are grouped into classes in accordance with the classification rules. An athlete’s class is based on how their impairment impacts the movement skills required in their sport.

Athletes are given classifications with the prefix ‘T’ for track events and ‘F’ for field events.

T20, F20 Athletes with an intellectual impairment
T31-38, F31-38, T40-47, F40-47, T51-54, F51-57, T61-64, F61-64 Athletes with a physical impairment
T11-13, F11-13 Athletes with a vision impairment
Not Eligible (NE) Does not have an eligible impairment type and/or meet the minimum impairment criteria for Para-athletics

More: Para-athletics Classification Information Sheet (updated November 2019)

How do I get classified?

Find out more about seeking a Para-athletics classification.

Classification Masterlist

Athletics Australia manages the National Para-athletics Classification Masterlist. This list includes athletes who have been classified in accordance with the World Para-athletics Classification Rules and Regulations, Paralympics Australia’s Classification Policy and Athletics Australia’s classification policy.


Rules & Equipment

Most Para-athletics disciplines, including discus, javelin, shot put and wheelchair racing, require specific sport equipment. Additionally, athletes may use assistive devices including prosthetics, rope tethers and acoustic devices.

The prosthetics used have been specifically developed to withstand the demands of competition. Leg prostheses are required in track events, but in field events they are optional.

Rope tethers and other similar devices may be used by runners with a vision impairment to link them to their sighted guides, and acoustic devices (or a sighted ‘caller’) may be used to indicate throwing targets, take-off in jumping events, etc.

Medal History

Year Gold Silver Bronze total
2016 3 9 14 26
2012 5 9 13 27
2008 10 9 7 26
2004 10 12 10 32
2000 35 15 16 66
1996 19 12 12 43
1992 13 15 12 40
1988 14 19 20 53
1984 17 19 22 58
1980 8 9 17 34
1976 7 11 4 22
1972 3 4 4 11
1968 7 7 5 19
1964 2 3 0 5
1960 0 4 1 5


We encourage those wishing to explore Para-athletics to contact their state federation in the first instance. The national federation link below provides information on the national high performance program leading to competing internationally and at the Paralympic Games.

National Federation
Organisation Website
Athletics Australia
State Federations
State Organisation Website
ACT Athletics ACT
NSW Athletics NSW
NT Athletics NT
QLD QLD Athletics
SA Athletics SA
TAS Athletics TAS
VIC Athletics VIC
WA Athletics WA