Female athlete skiing.

Everything You Need to Know About the Winter Paralympics

It seems that each month brings a whole new sporting experience to our televisions. Day one of the Winter Paralympics starts on Saturday 10th of March and will feature 670 athletes who will be competing for 80 medals across six sports. The Paralympics were first held in 1976 at in Sweden, and since then they have expanded ever since.

So, clear your diary and get ready for a sporting event you really won’t want to miss! We have put together this guide together for you so that you know everything there possibly is about this sporting event.

Para Ice Hockey

Para Ice Hockey is one of the most popular sports to watch due to its fast and furious nature as well being extremely physical. This sport started at the 1994 games which were held in Lillehammer and, since then, many of the rules and regulations have stayed the same. The rules are similar to ice hockey, but the main difference is that athletes sit on a specially designed sledge which has two blades on it to help them get across the ice. They also carry two sticks which helps to push them across the ice and to help control and shoot the puck. The game is split into three, 15-minute periods and only six players are allowed on the ice at any time.

Wheelchair Curling

This sporting event is incredibly similar to the Olympic version but with one difference – this version of curling no sweeping is allowed, which means the athletes have to ensure that their push is as accurate as possible! The team who get their stone closest to the centre will win the point. Each team can be a mix of female and male athletes who have a disability in the lower part of their body. Each team has four players which include a lead, second, third and skip as well as an alternate who can be there as a replacement.

Para Nordic Skiing

During this sporting event, there are two competitions which include cross-country skiing and biathlon which really tests the athlete’s skill as well as endurance.

The cross-country part has been a part of the Winter Paralympics since it first began in 1976 with the biathlon part being added in 1988. Additionally, athletes who have a visual disability were able to take part four years later.

During the cross-country event, skiers can take part individually or as a team during the classical or freestyle event.

Para Alpine Skiing

It is known that skiing is practised worldwide, and the very best para-athletes combine skill, speed and agility to race down the slope; some even reaching speeds of 100km/h!

The athletes that take part have all sorts of disabilities and compete in three different categories- standing, visually impaired and seated. The results are worked out by taking each athlete’s disability when calculating each time.

The athletes who are visually impaired or blind use a communication tool to help them down the slope, while the athletes who stand and sit down the slope use equipment which is adapted to their needs.

Para Snowboarding

Para Snowboarding first made an appearance in Sochi four years ago. Two gold medals will be up for grabs as well as other medals in other categories during this Winter Paralympics. The athletes taking part can participate in two categories- snowboard cross and banked slalom.

During the snowboard cross event, they will race down a course with various terrain features such as banks, rollers and jumps.

Banked slalom is an event where the athlete’s race on a course with banked turns. All competitors take three timed runs, and the best-timed run determines the final results.

The Winter Paralympics can just be as dangerous as the Winter Olympics, and that is why it is essential that the athletes have the right sports injury treatment on hand. The Winter Paralympics will be shown on Channel 4 across the ten days, and it isn’t something you want to miss!

Image credit: Clayoquot

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