The Olympics attracted the world’s attention. We focus on the grand names like Bolt and Kemboi but what happens when the games end? It time for the Paralympics, unfortunately, this version of the Olympics does not get much media coverage.

Sport for athletes with an impairment has existed for more than 100 years, and the first sport clubs for the deaf were already in existence in 1888 in Berlin.

It was not until after World War II however, that it was widely introduced. The purpose of it at that time was to assist the large number of war veterans and civilians who had been injured during wartime.

In 1944, at the request of the British Government, Dr. Ludwig Guttmann opened a spinal injuries centre at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Great Britain, and in time, rehabilitation sport evolved to recreational sport and then to competitive sport.

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Is there a difference between, Paralympics and Special Olympics? Yes there is. Special Olympics is for athletes with intellectual abilities while the Paralympics deals with 6 kinds of disabilities.

People often ask the question “What is the difference between Special Olympics and Paralympics?”

Special Olympics, the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee are complementary organizations, each one a testimony to the power of sport. As Tim Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics International puts it: “We are both trying to use the power of sport to change the way the world sees people who have differences”

Each is a pillar of the Olympic movement charged with fulfilling the Olympic vision in a distinct way.

Special Olympics welcomes all athletes with intellectual disabilities (age 8 and above) of all ability levels to train and compete in 32 Olympics-type sports.

Paralympics welcomes athletes from six main disability categories: amputees, cerebal palsy, intellectual disabilities, visually impaired, spinal injuries and Les Autres (French for “the others”, a category that includes conditions that do not fall into the categories mentioned before).  To participate in Paralympic Games athletes need to fulfill certain criteria and meet certain qualifying standards.

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People should be excited about the Rio Paralympics. They should not say the Olympic games are over, it is not truly over because the Paralympics are Olympic games too.

Get ready for the intense excitement of 23 Paralympic sports. 528 events over the course of 11 days of competition will yield 225 medals for women, 265 for men and 38 mixed medals.

Ready, set, shoot! Archery has been included in the Paralympic Games since the first edition, Rome 1960. In Rio, there are nine events – men’s, women’s and mixed – competing individually and in teams.

This adrenaline-fuelled sport that combines speed and tactics has been in the Paralympic programme since Atlanta 1996. In Rio, there are 17 medal events, with men and women competing individually or in mixed teams.

The ultimate test of strength, powerlifting has been part of the Paralympic Games since Tokyo 1964, with women joining at Sydney 2000. In Rio, there are men’s and women’s medal events in 10 weight categories.

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