In 2009, the International Canoe Federation (ICF) began a programme to make the sport accessible to everyone, with the aim of including it in the Paralympic Games for the first time in Rio.
In 2010, 31 countries sent participants to the Paracanoe World Championship in Poland. That same year, the sport’s inclusion in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games was approved.
Unlike Olympic canoeing, which includes sprint and slalom canoe events, in the Paralympic Games there is only the sprint discipline.
The Olympic and Paralympic versions have similar rules, with the fastest canoeist winning. The competition format features direct classification to the finals and repechage heats to decide which athletes will take part in the final race, in which medals are won.
In the Paralympic Games, only kayaks, identified by the letter K, are used. Each boat is adapted according to the functional abilities of its crew members. Athletes with any type of physical-motor disability may participate in competitions.
There are three functional classes: LTA, where athletes use their legs, trunk and arms to help rowing; TA, in which athletes use only their trunk and arms; and A, in which athletes only use their arms.
Events are always held along straight line courses marked by buoys, 200 metres long. There are both men’s and women’s races, with events for individuals.