Tokyo 2020 Paralympics: Everything you need to know 

As the Paralympics edge closer, here's everything you need to know; from athletes to keep a look out for, to the schedule, and how you can watch. 

Picture by 2021 Getty Images

The Paralympics are next to take centre stage in Tokyo in 2021.

With an action packed two weeks on the horizon, here's everything you need to know ahead of the Opening Ceremony.

When and where are the Paralympics?

The Paralympics will be held in Tokyo - one year on from the initial planned date in summer 2020.

Action will begin on Tuesday 24 August, beginning with the Opening Ceremony.

The next day will welcome to start of events, where seven will get Paralympic action underway - featuring track cycling, goal ball, swimming, table tennis, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair fencing and wheelchair rugby.

Over 20 events will be showcased across two weeks, before it all comes to a close on Sunday 5 September when the action is concluded with the Closing Ceremony.

What are the new sports debuting in Tokyo?

There have been two new sports added to the Paralympics programme, both of which have equivalent events on the Olympics.

Badminton will debut at the Yoyogi National Stadium and will include 14 events across six different classifications.

The second debuting sport will be Taekwondo at the Makuhari Messe.

Action will unfold across six events, consisting of six different weight classes.

Para badminton 
Picture by 2020 Getty Images

Sports that are unique to the Paralympics


Boccia - pronounced 'bot-cha', is unique in its inclusion to the Paralympic programme, bearing no equivalent event in the Olympics.

With similarities to bowls, it is a target ball sport designed to test both muscle control and accuracy.

One team has six reds balls, while the other has six blue balls - the aim of the game is to get your balls closer to the target ball than your opponents.

Though originally a game designed for athletes with cerebral palsy, as Boccia has developed it has become more inclusive to athletes with differing disabilities that affect their motor skills.


Like Boccia, there is no Olympic equivalent to goalball and it exists uniquely within the Paralympics.

It is a team sport that was designed for athletes with visual impairments.

In their teams, athletes must aim to score by throwing the ball - that has bells in it - into the goal of their opposing team.

All athletes are blindfolded to ensure a completely level playing field for all involved.

Boccia action 
Picture by 2015 Getty Images

Athletes to look out for at the 2020 Paralympics

David Smith (Great Britain) - Boccia

David Smith topped the world rankings in the BC1 individual category in 2018, picking up a Championship title in the same year.

After winning gold at Beijing 2008 and Rio 2016, he has his sights set on a third Olympic title and successfully defending his current title for the first time.

Amanda Dennis (United States) - Goalball

Amanda Dennis made her Paralympic debut in London, and had hoped to help the USA claim back-to-back titles following their success in Beijing.

But in 2012, they fell way outside of the medal positions.

Rio 2016 was a different story, however, with Dennis helping her side back onto the podium and taking home a bronze medal - but now they are firmly focused on winning gold again 13 years on from their last Paralympic title.

Amanda Dennis 
Picture by 2019 Getty Images

Anastasia Tas Pagonis (United States) - Swimming

At just 17 years old, Anastasia Pagonis is already a sensation.

Born in Long Island, she had always had a love of swimming - but losing her vision at 14 put her dreams on hold as she grappled with her new reality.

Returning to the pool presented its own obstacles, having to learn how to swim from a whole new perspective - but the work paid off, securing her place on the Paralympic team with a world record in the 400m freestyle.

I want to show people that I am an elite athlete, I can do my makeup, I can do my hair. I could dress cute. Yes, I might need a little bit of help doing these things, but anything's possible.

TANG Xuemei (People's Republic of China) - Sitting Volleyball

It wasn't until after the Sichuan Province earthquake in 2008 that TANG Xuemei discovered sitting volleyball, following the loss of her leg.

She on to debut at London 2012, helping China to a Paralympic title.

But after the United States took gold in Rio 2016 - beating China - TANG and her teammates are looking to take gold once again in Tokyo.

Bebe Vio (Italy) - Wheelchair Fencing

It became an iconic moment of the entire Paralympic movement when Bebe Vio screamed emotionally as she won her gold medal in the Foil B.

Since then, she's become a global superstar and starred in the documentary film 'Rising Phoenix'.

But it was the bronze medal in the team event that was the most special moment for Bebe.

"If I have to think about the best moment of my life, I'm going to think about the bronze medal."

Daniel Dias (Brazil) - Swimming

Swimming legend Daniel Dias plans to retire after Tokyo 2020. The Brazilian has won more Paralympic medals than any other swimmer in history.

"My moment of greatest pride in sport [is] representing this nation... This here is an enormous pride to represent [also] people with disabilities."

Paralympics schedule and how to watch

From the Opening Ceremony to the Closing Ceremony, there's action on every day in between with each one boasting multiple medal events.

Whether it's the new events you want to see in action or the likes of Boccia and Goalball that are entirely unique to the Paralympics that you want to see, the full schedule for the Games can be found here.

And no matter where you are in the world, there's a place to watch all the action unfold.

The full broadcast list, including where you live, can be found here - so you don't have to miss a thing.