Para Athletics

General Info






Para Athletics is the largest sport within the Paralympic Movement with more than 130 participating countries.

Open to male and female athletes in all eligible impairment groups, Para Athletics offers a wide range of competition opportunities at the local, Provincial, and International levels.  Athletes compete according to their sport specific classification (see more information on classification below) in each event and there are sport classes for Physical, Vision, and Intellectual Impairments.   

BC Athletics in partnership with BC Wheelchair SportsBC Blind Sports, Sportability BC (CP) Sports, and Amputee Sport BC provides program opportunities for athletes with a disability. There are opportunities for both athletes to participate in Track & Field, Cross Country and Road Running. 

BC Wheelchair Sports and the The WC Race Series Society started up the WC Race Series which provides opportunities for athletes with a disability to develop their racing and throwing skills through technical expertise, coaching, and access to provincial meets.

More information can be found on their website about races and events.

How BC Athletics Member Clubs Can Become Para Ready

A picture of Marissa Papaconstantinou is set against a red background. One clear image is in the front with two additional fade out identical pictures in the back. Marissa is a T44 athlete and runs with a blade.Athletics Canada specific guide: Guided by the “Becoming Para Ready” framework developed by the Steadward Centre for Personal & Physical Achievement, Athletics Canada has developed a national Para Athletics development strategy that will focus on building a strong foundation at the Provincial and Territorial level, creating greater capacity, support and alignment of Para Athletics, including integration and inclusion at all levels. 

Community sport clubs confront a number of barriers, including a lack of trained coaches, limited availability of interested coaches/volunteers, limited human resources, equipment, accessible training spaces and inadequate budgets. They also report confusion and lack confidence in identifying what the integration policy is, what it means, and how it should be implemented at the local level. To help tackle these barriers and support clubs in delivering more effective integrated sport opportunities, The Steadward Centre for Personal & Physical Achievement at the University of Alberta has created a resource called Becoming Para Ready.

The Becoming Para Ready resource has been developed as an introductory technical guide to provide coaches and club administrators with knowledge, confidence, and tools to be more proactive – or “ready” – for integration, and to introduce the ways integration can be implemented. “Para Ready” means clubs are prepared to support athletes experiencing disability in some way, by either providing programming or connecting to those that do. Para Ready clubs have proactively planned, prepared, and can be explicit about the ways they can and cannot support all athletes, rather than reacting when contacted by an athlete experiencing disability. The resource was developed specificlally for the sport of athletics.

See: The 9 P's of a Para Ready Program



Para Athletics National Classification

Classification provides a structure for competition. Athletes competing in para sports have an impairment that leads to a competitive disadvantage. Consequently, a system is put in place to minimize the impact of impairments on sport performance and to ensure the success of an athlete is determined by skill, fitness, power, endurance, tactical ability and mental focus. This system is called classification. 
Classification determines who is eligible to compete in a para-sport and then groups the eligible athletes into sport classes according to their activity limitation in a certain sport. The aim is that each class should consist of athletes who have impairments that cause approximately the same amount of activity limitation in the key athletic disciplines – running, wheelchair racing, jumps and throws.  
Athletes fall under various classifications for training and competition under the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
Visit for more information about classification in Athletics.
Breakdown of the sport classes can be found here:
Article from SIRC on Classification




Para Track & Field

For more information about Para Athletics, visit

Track events:
Sprint (100m, 200m, 400m)
Middle Distance (800m, 1500m)
Long Distance (5,000m, 10,000m)
Relay races (4x100m)
Road event: Marathon
Jumping events: High Jump, Long Jump, and Triple Jump
Throwing events: Discus, Shot Put, Club Throw and Javelin


A list of some of the resources that are available to help make sport more inclusive and accessible.

Resources are sorted by:

Becoming Para Ready

A picture of Marissa Papaconstantinou is set against a red background. One clear image is in the front with two additional fade out identical pictures in the back. Marissa is a T44 athlete and runs with a blade.

Guided by the “Becoming Para Ready” framework developed by the Steadward Centre for Personal & Physical Achievement, Athletics Canada has developed a national Para Athletics development strategy that will focus on building a strong foundation at the Provincial and Territorial level, creating greater capacity, support and alignment of Para Athletics, including integration and inclusion at all levels. 



More information can be found at:



Para Throws Coaching Manual - BC Wheelchair Sports


"The purpose of this manual is to provide supplementary technical information for coaches currently NCCP Trained or Certified in Athletics and/or those interested in learning more about coaching athletes with a disability in Para Throws. Coaches are strongly encouraged to take a NCCP Sport Coach or Club Coach Throws course prior to reviewing this manual. Individuals looking for general information on coaching athletes with a disability are encouraged to review the “Coaching Athletes with a Disability” resource by the Coaching Association of Canada."

This resource was created by BC Wheelchair Sports


Inclusion Through Design: You're Only Temporarily Able-Bodied

"A TEDxYYC talk by Sean Crump talking about inclusion through design. Sean will break down why we should design and build spaces that are universally accessible. This approach will benefit everyone, if not now, one day. Crump argues that even those who are currently able-bodied are in fact just “temporarily-able bodied.” He identifies the unique opportunity the lockdown and pandemic have provided in being able to relate with those living with disabilities, and the mental health issues brought on from isolation."

Acitve Living Leaders

"Active Living Leaders is comprised of a series of peer-mentor training videos with a goal of helping people who would like to use the latest physical activity knowledge, sport resources, and transformational leadership principles to inform and motivate adults living with spinal cord injury to lead more active lives."


Disability Tip Sheets - Active Living Alliance for Canadians with a Disability

"The following tip sheets provide information about a number of disabilities and conditions to help physical activity, recreation and sport leaders better serve people with disabilities in their programs." (Active Living Alliance for Canadians with a Disability)

Accessibility, Inclusion, and Quality Participation - Canadian Disability Participant Project

A Quick Guide to Accessibility, Inclusion, and Quality Participation provides concise definitions of accessibility, inclusion, and quality participation, including considerations for the design or evaluation of disability sport programs. The supplemental report, Accessibility, Inclusion, and Quality Participation: A Look at the Literature, briefly summarizes the literature supporting the definitions of accessibility, inclusion, and quality participation outlined in the Quick Guide (Canadian Disability Participant Project).

Rethinking the meaning of "Participation" for people with disabilities -  Canadian Disability Participant Project

"The purpose of this document is to encourage community programmers, rehabilitation specialists, policy makers and researchers to better understand the nature of participation by people with disabilities— what it means, why it’s so vital, and what key elements will lead to better quality participation by persons with disabilities." (Canadian Disability Participant Project)

SCAMPER Strategy taken from the Rick Hansen Foundation



Effective Communication: Disability Awareness & Etiquette Guide - National Disability Institute's LEAD Center

Etiquette: Interacting with People with Disabilities - Respect Ability

"This 3 minute and 40 second YouTube video from the D.C. Office of Disability Rights discusses general rules of etiquette for interacting with people with disabilities. We encourage you to watch this short disability sensitivity training video before working with someone with a disability. We promise you will enjoy this short video – be entertained while learning!" (Respect Ability, 2021)

FAQ: Disability Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion interaction resources

"In the 2017-2020 Strategic Plan, Special Olympics Canada committed to focusing on long-lasting organizational change that goes beyond simply changing the face of the organization on the surface, by ensuring that diversity and inclusion are intertwined through a number of initiatives, and strategic goals.

In support of this focus, and in collaboration with Vital Shift Consulting, SOC has developed a series of Diversity and Inclusion infographics.  These infographics have been created to highlight key points from previously developed strategies and resources.  Each infographic is supported by a larger resource that contains additional information.  If you wish to see the full document please contact Tom Davies (" (Special Olympics Canada, 2021)

Words with Dignity

"When you use Words with Dignity, you encourage equality for everyone. If you’re in doubt, use people first language (e.g., “a person with a disability”; not “a disabled person”)"


Guide to Reporting on Para Athletes - International Paralympic Commitee

8 ways to make your website more inclusive and accessible - viaSport

"This is a presentation by Dr. Tim Konoval and Dr. Danielle Peers from the University of Alberta. Due to the rise of technology, websites are often the first point of contact with the public, with most individuals experiencing disability getting their sport programming information online. This resource provides eight great ways to help these individuals get the information they need by making your website more inclusive and accessible"

Inclusive Design for Social Media: Tips for Creating Accessible Channels - Hootsuite

Successfully Promote Parasport Programs - viaSport

"These findings were generated from the Level the Field: Disability Inclusion in Sport research project with members
of disability communities in B.C. These were the most important program details that the disability community said
they needed to know before deciding whether to participate."

Access for All: Inclusive Communication - English Federation of Disability Sport

"Reaching more people in sport and physical activity through inclusive and accessible communications"


Coaching Athletes with a Disability - Coaching Association of Canada

"NCCP Coaching Athletes with a Disability is an eLearning module to diversify your coaching portfolio. 

The module provides the knowledge to deliver quality, positive sport experiences for athletes, specifically those with behavioural, intellectual, physical, and sensory disabilities.

NCCP Coaching Athletes with a Disability is a resource for coaches who are new to coaching athletes with a disability. Many coaches who are already working with athletes with a disability will also find the module useful."

Coaches Resource Guide: Supporting Young Athletes who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing in a Mainsteam Setting - Coaching Association of Canada

Paralympic Practitioner Development: Parasport Module - Sport Scientist Canada

"The Parasport Module is an e-learning resource designed to deliver a learning experience to sport scientists to develop the foundational knowledge required to safely, effectively and appropriately support athletes competing in Paralympic sports. Any member of Sport Scientist Canada can access the Parasport Module."

Coaching Kids of All Abilities - Jumpstart

"Coaching Kids of All Abilities is an online resource that helps coaches and youth activity leaders create inclusive sporting environments for kids of all abilities."

The Inclusion Club

A website dedicated to sharing models of good inclusive practice in sport and recreation for people with disability


Accessibiliity Audit Tool from viaSport

"This resource is designed to assist you in determining the overall accessibility of your current programing. You can also use this tool as a guide to support you in the development of quality accessible programming for your organization."

International Paralympic Committee Accessibility Guide



Is it truly inclusive? from viaSport

What people with disabilities want to know before participating in your program

Inclusive Hub resources from

Active Homes: Home Strength-Training Guide For People with Paraplegia

Activity Adaptations from Get Active Now

Activity adaptations by modifying time, equipment, programming, area, number of participants, etc.


The Ability Toolkit: A Resource for Parents of Children and Youth with a Disability

"The Ability Toolkit: A Resource for Parents of Children and Youth with a Disability is a parent-centered resource aimed to help children of all abilities meet the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guideline recommendations. Developed in partnership with the CDPP, the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP), ParticipACTION, Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research (HALO) CHEO, and stakeholders including parents of children with a disability, the toolkit offers information regarding the content of the guidelines, provides examples of activity modifications, and details additional community resources that may be helpful to parents"

COVID-19: Supporting the physical and mental health of families of children with disabilities

A resource to help support families of children with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic with their mental and physical health.


Abilities in Motion from the Rick Hansen Foundation

"Use this toolkit to help your students understand and accept differences and be positioned to succeed. It addresses disability, accessibility and inclusion, while teaching skills such as teamwork, communication and leadership, using innovation, inquiry and problem solving.  Students are challenged to identify forms of exclusion in society and the kinds of policies that will help in realizing a truly inclusive and equitable world. "

Knowledge Translation Bulletin: Strategies to Support Teachers Who Deliver Inclusive Physical Education Classes

This knowledge translation bulletin outlines strategies to best support teachers working in inclusive physical education so that they can acquire the tools they need to provide a richer and more meaningful experience for students with disabilities.


Supporting Physical Activity among Canadians with Physical Disabilities: Resources for health and recreation practitioners supporting physical activity among Canadians with physical disabilities

"The tools and resources are intended to provide practitioners with knowledge and strategies to support physical activity among people with physical disabilities."


"The ProACTIVE SCI Toolkit is designed to help physiotherapists work with their clients with SCI to be physically active outside of the clinic. It’s a step-by-step resource that uses three overarching strategies including education, referral, and prescription to develop tailored strategies that work for both the physiotherapist and their client with SCI."

Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults with Spinal Cord Injury

"The guidelines have been developed by an international group of SCI scientists, people living with SCI, clinicians, and representatives from SCI organizations. These physical activity guidelines are based on the best scientific evidence available"

Physical Activity Among Individuals with Spinal Cord Injuries Who Walk

"This knowledge translation bulletin summarizes published research that examines physical activity among individuals living with a spinal cord injury (SCI) who have some ability to walk, or ambulate. In particular, we reviewed the amount, types, and outcomes of physical activity in this population, along with the factors that help or hinder them from participating in physical activity."

Para Athletics Notices

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