The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has confirmed that the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games sports programme will remain the same as the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics with 22 sports included.
The IPC Governing Board’s decision was taken at a meeting in London on Friday.
The 22 sports that will be included are: athletics, archery, badminton, blind football, boccia, canoe, cycling, equestrian, goalball, judo, powerlifting, rowing, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, triathlon, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair fencing, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis.
CP Football which made the final stage for consideration was not included in the Paris 2024 Paralympic sport programme.
Andrew Parsons, IPC President, said: “I would like to send my warmest congratulations to the 22 sports that will form part of a mouth-watering Paris 2024 Paralympic Games sport programme.
“I think the final Paris 2024 programme is extremely attractive and exciting. It features 22 Para sports that have strong global appeal, support gender balance and offer athletes with a wide range of impairments – including those with high support needs – opportunities to compete on the biggest stage of all in the French capital.
“The IPC reviewed 23 strong bids and all 23 sports were viable for inclusion in the Games, which underlines the growing strength of the Paralympic Movement.
“In deciding the final sports for inclusion, the Board assessed all applications and committed to the Paralympic Movement’s desire to pursue gender parity, safeguard the involvement of athletes with high support needs and ensure that a diverse range of nations could take part. In line with Olympic Agenda 2020, the Board needed to maintain athlete numbers around 4,350 and ensure that any potential changes to the Tokyo 2020 sport programme were cost neutral.
“With these guiding principles, expanding the Games to 23 sports was not a viable option without growing athlete numbers beyond 4,350 or increasing costs.
“We explored every possible option to see how CP Football could fit into the sport programme. Clearly, the sport’s inclusion would have impacted the gender balance of the Games. The only way to compensate this would have been to remove male athlete slots from other sports – a move that would then have resulted in 23 sports and additional costs – or not include another predominantly male sport. This move would have reduced the number of high support needs athletes, a move that would have gone against our guiding principles.
“Despite a strong bid and excellent progress made in the last four years, we decided not to include CP Football in the Paris 2024 sport programme. I know the CP Football community will be disappointed at our decision, but if the sport continues to make progress and further develops the women’s game, then it will be in a much stronger position for inclusion in future Paralympic Games.”
‘Decision not taken lightly’
Chelsey Gotell, Chairperson of the IPC Athletes Council, said: “This decision was not taken lightly and involved evaluating many scenarios within an extremely complex sport ecosystem. As the voice of the athletes into the Governing Board, any decision made directly impacts my fellow athlete community, who have devoted their lives to training and competing to be the best in the world at their sport. Although a very difficult decision, at the end of the day, it was imperative that the Governing Board returned to the guiding principles of the Paralympic Movement which led us to this outcome.
“This decision also highlights the importance of the IPC Athletes’ Council strategy – which is expected to launch within the next few months. This strategy has a component of creating educational resources that outline the complexity of the sport programme matrix in an athlete friendly way so that athletes have a better understanding of all of the facets that are taken into consideration when approving the Paralympic sport programme.”
‘Key moment in our journey’
Tony Estanguet, Paris 2024 President, said: “We welcome the IPC Governing Board’s decision on the Paralympic Games sport programme. This a key moment in our journey towards the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. We congratulate the IPC and the International Federations who took part in the process and look forward to developing with them an event programme that will dazzle the world in 2024 and showcase Paralympic sports like never before. This is only the beginning. The next step is to finalise the venue master plan and ensure Paris delivers on its promise to offer the most breathtaking and innovative stage for Paralympians to excite the world.”
The road to Paris 2024
The process to decide the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games sport programme started in November 2017. Originally eight new sports and three sport disciplines applied for inclusion in the Games. In January 2018, six of these applicants – CP Football, golf, karate, Para dance sport, powerchair football and sailing – progressed to Phase Two of the exercise.
Between February 2018 and July 2018, the six new and 22 existing Paralympic sports completed and submitted a comprehensive application pack as part of Phase Two. This allowed the IPC to measure the strength and potential of each sport. The pack featured a series of questions regarding each sport’s governance, rules and regulations, anti-doping programme compliance and activities, worldwide reach and quadrennial competition programme. Classification Code compliance was also assessed, and the IPC considered the costs and complexity of operations on the Paris 2024 Organising Committee.
In September 2018, the IPC Governing Board progressed 23 sports – the 22 included in Tokyo 2020 and CP Football – through to the final stage of assessment for inclusion in Paris.
By October 2018, all 23 sports were provided with feedback from the IPC and several were asked for further information to be assessed prior to the IPC Governing Board’s decision.
The first Paralympic Games were held in Rome, Italy, in 1960 with just eight sports included. The Rio 2016 Paralympics featured 22 sports with Para canoe and Para triathlon both making their debut. At Tokyo 2020, Para badminton and Para taekwondo are included for the first time as part of a 22-strong sports programme. The Tokyo 2020 programme will feature at least 1,756 slots for women, a 17 per cent increase in the number of women that took part in London 2012. This number is likely to increase further due to the allocation of 294 gender free slots.
The Paris 2024 Paralympic Games will take place between 28 August and 8 September.