One of the new features of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Paracanoe is a recent sport. In 2009, the International Canoe Federation (ICF) began a programme to make the sport possible to everyone, with the aim of including it in the 2016 Games.
In 2010, 31 countries sent participants to the Paracanoe World Championship, in Poland. That same year, the sport’s inclusion in the Rio de Janeiro Paralympic programme was approved.
The Olympic and Paralympic sports have similar rules, with the fastest canoeist winning. The competition format varies in line with the number of participants, with direct classification to the finals and repechage heats to decide which athletes will take part in the final race, where medals are won.
Two types of boats are used: kayaks, identified by the letter K, and outrigger canoes, also known as Va’a, and so identified by the letter V. 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.
In Paracanoe 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.