At Paralympics are the second biggest event in the world, and it is an example of overcoming, competition and emotion. Hundreds of athletes represent Brazil every year, in 20 Paralympic sports.
Known as the Paralympic Games, this is a multi-sport event that takes place right after the Olympics, held in the same location, usually adapted with facilities such as the building automation.
In 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the games had to be postponed, so they are running from August 24th to September 5th, 2021.
This is the first time in history that these events take place outside the Olympic cycle, in an odd year. The city chosen as headquarters was tokyo, in Japan. This choice happened in 2013.
The CPB (Brazilian Paralympic Committee) is one of the most prepared, and is aiming for a position among the top 10 countries in the medals table.
Of all 22 sports that make up the event, Brazilian athletes will compete in 20. Therefore, many athletes end up needing one home automation system to be able to dedicate themselves exclusively to the practice of sport.
In addition, the president of the CPB, Mizael Conrado, estimates that the country will win between 60 and 75 medals in this edition, reaching the mark of 100 Paralympic medals.
The history of the Paralympics
The first time a Paralympic event took place was in 1960, in the city of Rome, Italy. Approximately 400 athletes participated, in eight different sports. However, it took a long time for this event to happen.
Initially, in 1948, Ludwig Guttman began organizing a sporting event to improve the self-esteem of World War II veterans who had suffered spinal injuries.
Furthermore, competition was a stimulus for rehabilitation. After 10 years of this beginning, the games began to be organized like the Olympics, receiving athletes from 23 countries in their first edition.
The first editions had the following modalities:
- Table tennis.
In addition to other wheelchair sports, such as fencing and basketball. Since then, the event takes place every four years, just like the Olympic Games.
In this edition, there are more than 5,000 athletes from around the world competing for a position in the medals table, installed and adapted in a sports center, which uses tools such as drinking fountain for school for more comfort.
The Paralympic Games and COVID-19
To protect the health of athletes, with the increase in cases and the coronavirus escalating to a pandemic, the Tokyo authorities, together with members of the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and IPC (International Paralympic Committee) opted for the postponement.
Because of this, the new dates allowed local authorities to be able to adapt better and provide more security for everyone present at the games, making all the necessary changes to deal with the pandemic.
Thus, in addition to the traditional care for the sporting event to take place efficiently, it was necessary to be extra careful with accommodation and logistics, in addition to alarm installation to serve all athletes, who will participate in more than 300 different events, held in 40 locations.
Safety protocols are isolation from anyone who tests positive for COVID-19, eliminating the candidate from the competition. In addition, refusing to follow security protocols leads to expulsion from the games, together with deportation from the country.
For the first time in Paralympic Games, there will be no foreign fans to follow the competitions.
Only the local public can attend the event, and even so, they must follow strict hygiene protocols, designed for this type of activity, such as the surface treatment to sanitize the banks.
Vaccination is highly recommended, but in addition there are several other ways to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, such as the mandatory use of a mask and the prohibition of physical contact.
This includes hugs and other displays of affection. The sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages in places where part of the competition will take place is also prohibited, and the organizers keep a list updated daily.
This list includes athletes, delegation members, press and even volunteers, updated on the official website of the games to ensure greater transparency of this type of activity.
Furthermore, cleaning and conservation companies were hired to avoid any kind of problem between competitions.
The biggest change for this edition is at the time of awarding medals. Instead of the traditional model, where the medal was placed on the winning athlete, this year the winners themselves will take the prize, to avoid human contact.
Paralympic games are divided into 22 modalities, with different competitions in each of them. Some modalities are divided into male and female disputes, although others already have a mixed competition.
Of all the Paralympic sports, Brazil will not only have representatives in basketball and wheelchair rugby.
However, it is possible to line up to follow all the modalities, which in some cases resemble their Olympic counterparts. Some even require a earthworks to leave the proper place.
Others are specific to the Paralympics, such as 5-a-side football and Bocce. Competitions are very fierce, with several high-level athletes seeking a medal in the tournament.
Who participates in the games?
The Paralympic Games have spaces for the most different disabilities, the main ones among athletes being visual impairment, amputations, reduced mobility, cerebral palsy or mental disability.
The commission that organizes the games is made up of several national committees allied to four international sports federations.
In this edition, the Brazilian Committee is presenting its largest delegation in an edition outside Brazil, composed of 159 men and 94 women.
In addition, the sport with the largest number of competitors is athletics, which has 64 representatives and 18 guide athletes, people who work with the Paralympic athlete to help complete the event.
Some of the athletes called up for weightlifting and swimming are among the best in the world ranking, showing the sporting power that Brazil brings to the Paralympics.
An fire alarm center is always available to deal with the athletes, in case of any kind of need.
Most Brazilian athletes in the competition receive the Bolsa Atleta, a financial aid program that is divided into several categories according to the professional level of the athletes.
In this way, they can dedicate themselves to the preparation for the games, becoming high-performance athletes and experts in their fields of activity, presenting impressive results within their sporting modalities.
The importance of the Paralympics
The main objective of the Paralympic Games is the social inclusion and appreciation of athletes who have some type of disability, showing how much they can still become high performance athletes.
The highlight for each competition is only in the performance of each athlete, regardless of their biotype or disability, presenting an opportunity for a productive experience for the professionals involved.
The Paralympic movement has been gaining more and more attention and respect from the public, which makes this event one of the biggest in the world, with words like resilience, attitude, hope and perseverance as one of the main themes of the competition.
The above average performance presented by Brazilian Paralympic athletes makes them true national heroes, as is the case of swimmer Clodoaldo Silva, who won six gold medals and one silver in the same competition, in a previous edition.
Throughout history, many of the athletes have shown excellent results, with broken records and many opportunities to shine among the best. This is the case of Brazilians, who have always performed well.
The country's debut was in 1976, and its first medal was won in the following edition. Since then, the country has managed to present more and more qualified athletes, accumulating medals and becoming a world reference.
Visual identity of the Paralympics
For the 2020 Tokyo edition, the Paralympics emblem is shaped like a laurel leaf, but with an indigo blue checkered pattern. This is a reflection of sophistication and modernity of the Japanese people.
This checkered pattern is known as ichimatsu moyo, and dates back to the Edo period in Japan, which occurred between 1603 and 1867.
The mascot, Someity, is a combination of terms someiyoshino, a kind of cherry blossom, with the term “just mighty”, which in an adaptation to the English language would be “is possible”.
It was created with the aim of symbolizing the mental power, physical strength and overcoming that Paralympic athletes have.
The Paralympic Games has a special connotation in the world. Social inclusion is a very important topic today, and competition is one of the flagships of this dialogue, which often needs to be worked with more quality.
In this way, people begin to pay more attention to issues of mobility and dealing with people with disabilities, identifying their potential and strength, which they apply to seek incredible results in one of the biggest sports competitions in the world.