Canada received its first two medals on the Tokyo Paralympics, Japan on Wednesday.
First, observe bike owner Keely Shaw took bronze within the C4 3,000 meter particular person pursuit. Then Aurélie Rivard swam to the identical medal within the S10 50m freestyle.
It is largely simple – two medals and the video games aren’t even 24 hours previous – however what are these letter / quantity modifiers that precede the occasion identify?
The straightforward reply is that they provide a classification. There are 10 impairments that qualify athletes to take part within the Paralympics – eight are bodily, one visible, and one mental.
- Lowered muscle power
- Restricted passive freedom of motion
- Limb deficiency
- Leg size distinction
- Quick stature
- Hypertension (elevated muscle pressure)
- Ataxia (uncoordinated motion as a consequence of a broken central nervous system)
- Athetosis (steady sluggish involuntary actions)
- Visible impairment
- Psychological impairment
In sports activities similar to swimming and athletics, classes can be found for all 10 impairments. However in others like Goalball, solely the visually impaired compete. The latter turns into even simpler as all athletes are blindfolded, which makes the sector of play even and eliminates the necessity for classification.
Nonetheless, swimmers are divided into totally different classes relying on the severity of their incapacity. The S10 class Rivard swims in is for individuals with minimal bodily impairments. For instance, the 25-year-old Canadian was born with an underdeveloped left hand.
In Shaw’s case, the C4 classification might embody athletes with a decrease leg amputation and a prosthesis on one leg. Shaw himself has left-sided paralysis.
Typically, a better quantity means a much less extreme incapacity. The S1 class in swimming primarily consists of athletes who use a wheelchair and / or have vital lack of muscle management of their arms, legs and arms. Likewise, the C1 of biking is reserved for these with probably the most extreme bodily limitations.
Every sport additionally has its personal minimal impairment standards, with worldwide associations deciding on a case-by-case foundation whether or not athletes are eligible. Additionally it is as much as these judges to categorise the eligible athletes.
As a result of totally different sports activities require totally different expertise, suitability and classification for individuals with related impairments might differ.
And so Rivard not solely received bronze within the 50m freestyle, however she additionally received within the S10 class. The race can be held in S4, S6, S8, S11 and S13. Numbers 11-13 characterize visible impairments, with 14 representing the class of mental impairment.
The classification may also be damaged down by self-discipline: S stands for freestyle, butterfly and again; SB is breaststroke; and SM stands for particular person medley. Different sports activities additionally observe related strategies.