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A-Z of London Paralympic athletics


08:54, August 31, 2012

LONDON, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- Following is an A-Z of athletics at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, which officially opened on Wednesday night. The ten-day athletics events will be staged on from Aug. 31.

Athletics - is the biggest sport on the Paralympics agenda with 170 gold medal events and approximately 1,100 athletes competing. It is open to all disability groups, meaning there is a lengthy list of classes. Athletes compete in traditional track and field events with modifications made for certain disabilities.

Beijing - At the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, China topped the medals table with a total of 77 which included 38 gold medals. Australia came second with 27 medals, including 10 victories; 38 different countries and regions won at least one gold medal.

Combined class events - Sometimes there is not an event available for a particular classification. In this case athletes have the option of competing up a class with athletes with less impairment. For these events, there is no points scoring system and the fastest or furthest performance wins.

Disabilities - Athletes with an intellectual impairment (F20 classification) will compete for the first time since the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.

Eligible impairment groups - All physical impairment groups and athletes with learning disability. Athletes competing in the track (T) and field (F) events are divided into classifications to ensure fair competition.

Franz Nietlispach (Switzerland ) - is the most successful male Paralympic athlete of all time. He won 21 medals - 14 gold, six silver and one bronze - between 1980 and 2000.

Guide runner - Visually impaired runners use a guide runner, usually someone from their own team, to assist them in completing a race safely and as quickly as possible by running alongside them during the race, guiding them to stay in their lane.

High jump - Athletes in the classifications visual impairment and limb impairment compete in this event. Visually impaired athletes may touch the bar to orientate themselves before they jump. The highest ratified jump by a Paralympic athlete is F44 jumper Jeff Skiba (United States) who leapt 2.11 metres to win in Beijing 2008.

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