sábado, 19 de maio de 2007

The Parapan American Games 2007 and kinds of sports

For the first time ever, in 2007 the Parapan American Games will take place immediately after and in the same city of the Pan American Games. Organized by CO-RIO in partnership with the Brazilian Paralympic Committee, and following the rules of the Americas Paralympic Committee (APC) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the Parapan American Games Rio 2007 will be held between August 12 and 19, 2007.
The Parapan American Games Rio 2007 will use the same venues as the Pan American Games. This will guarantee the quality of the sporting equipment, as is currently the case of the Paralympic Games, always held after the Olympics and organized by the same Organizing Committee. In addition, holding the events in this order will allow delegations to the Parapan American Games to use the Pan American Village, resulting in greater comfort and money saving. The apartments in the Village were designed taking into account their use by Parapan American Games athletes.
Around 1,300 athletes and 700 members of delegations are expected to take part in 10 different sports. The Parapan American Games have taken place twice before, but separately from the Pan American Games themselves - in Mexico City in 1999 and in Mar del Plata, Argentina, in 2003.
In order to organize the Parapan American Games, CO-RIO will count on the support of the Ministry of Sports, the Government of the State of Rio de Janeiro and the Municipal Government of the City of Rio.
The Paralympic sports are very similar to their Olympic parallels. Listed below are the main characteristics of the 10 sports which compose the program of the Parapan American Games Rio 2007:

1. Athletics

Athletics is one of the sports that include the largest number of participants around the globe. Trying to jump higher, to throw further, to run faster, to overcome one’s own limits, these athletes compete in track (sprint, middle distance racing, long track racing and relay), jump (long jump, high jump and triple jump), throw (shot put, disco and javelin throw), street (marathon) and combined (pentathlon). Some compete in wheelchairs, others with prosthesis, and blind or visually impaired athletes compete with a sighted guide.

Place: João Havelange Stadium

2.Wheelchair Basketball

Wheelchair Basketball was originally developed after World War II in an effort to aid the rehabilitation of war veterans. Today, it is one of the most popular sports in Paralympic Games. No changes are made to basketball courts to receive wheelchair athletes. The backboard remains at the same height and the court size is the same. With five players in each team, athletes receive, depending on their functional impairment, from 1 to 4.5 points (whereas the highest score is achieved by the least impaired). The total score of a team in court cannot surpass 14 points.

Place: Arena Multiuso do Rio (Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic Arena)

3. Swimming

Athletes with physical disabilities or visual impairment compete in the four styles – freestyle, breaststroke, butterfly – in addition to medley and relay events. Athletes are not allowed to use prosthesis, orthesis or any other apparatus. Blind swimmers are given a signal, by means of a stick with a foam end, so that they can perceive when they are getting close to the end wall (on turns and finish line).

Place: Parque Aquático Nacional (National Water Park)

4. Powerlifting

Powerlifting started in Paralympic Games in 1964. Initially, exclusive for men, it included women from Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games. Athletes are divided into weight categories (a total of 10) and brain disabled, spine injured, lower limb amputee athletes and les autres – those with some kind of physical disability that cannot be included in the categories previously listed – with the minimum degree of disability required. The objective of Powerlifting is to lift the greatest weight possible. Lying on their back, competitors must lower the bar to the chest, hold it motionless on the chest and then press it upwards to arms length with locked elbows. The athletes are given three attempts.

Place: Riocentro Convention Center – Pavillion 3A

5. Football 5-a-side

Five athletes on one side and five on the other, the goal is both team’s objective. A ball with a bell inside and side bands, the game starts. The side bands, as the term indicates, are on top of the sidelines, are 1.20m high and prevent the ball from getting out. The ball has a bell inside so that players can find it, since they are blind. Only the goalkeeper, for safety reasons, is sighted. The goalkeeper plays in a 5x2m restricted area and behind him there is a caller, whose function is to signal to players where the goal is. The field dimensions are 40 x 20m and the game lasts 50 minutes (two 25min periods). Football 5-a-side started in the 2004 Paralympic Games.

Place: Arena de Hóquei de Deodoro (Deodoro Hockey Arena)

6. Football 7-a-side

There are 7 players on the field from each team, all brain disabled. Brain disability is a physical disability and not mental as the name may suggest. Athletes from Classes C5 to C8 play Football 7-a-side, and a C5 or C6 athlete must be present at all times in order to keep the balance between the teams. The field dimensions are 75x55m, the game lasts 60 min (two 30-minute periods) and it follows FIFA’s rules with slight changes. Side throwing-in, for instance, may be done with only hand.

Place: Arena de Hóquei de Deodoro (Deodoro Hockey Arena)

7. Judo

Judo appeared for the first time in Paralympic Games in 1988, during Seoul Games. In Athens 2004 it was women’s turn to take part in the competition. Judo is practiced by blind and visually impaired athletes who, divided into weight categories, fight according to the same rules of the International Judo Federation. A few aspects are different from conventional judo, for instance: athletes start the fight when they grab the kimono; the fight is interrupted when opponents loose contact and there is no penalty. Judo fighters from the three ophthalmologic categories, B1 (blind), B2 (perception of figure) and B3 (definition of image), fight among themselves and the blind athlete (B1) is identified with a red circle on each shoulder of the kimono.

Place: Riocentro Convention Center – Pavilion 4A

8. Table tennis

Table Tennis has been present in Paralympic Games since its first edition in 1960 and it is practiced nowadays in 104 countries. Athletes from the most varied disability groups (except for blind and visually impaired) compete divided into 11 functional classes, out of which five are for standing athletes, five for athletes in wheelchairs and one for mentally disabled athletes. Individually, in pairs or team, the match is played in 5 sets of 11 points. After winning three sets, a player is considered the winner. With a few changes, the rules of the International Tennis Federation apply also to Table Tennis practiced by people with disabilities.

Place: Riocentro Convention Center – Pavilion 3B

9. Wheelchair tennis

The same court, same ball, same rules (except for the fact that ball may hit the floor twice), different athletes. The Wheelchair Tennis is practiced by athletes who have substantial or total function loss in one or both legs, or also in QUAD category when at least three limbs are affected. The athletes compete individually (simple) or in pairs (doubles).

Place: Country Clube Marapendi (Marapendi Club)

10. Sitting volleyball

Sitting volleyball is played on a 10mx6m court with a 1.15 meter-tall net for men and 1.05 for women. Each team has six athletes in the court and the game is played in 5 sets. The first four sets are played up to 25 points (unless the teams tie at 24, when the game is prolonged until one team has a two-point lead) and the last one goes up to 25 (the same rule is valid in case of tie at 14 points). To get a point, a team has to make the ball fall on the opponent’s field, and a maximum of three touches is allowed, besides the blocking contact. A player is not allowed to touch a ball twice consecutively, except for the blocking action. Differently from its Olympic equivalent, the service can be blocked. Athletes must keep the pelvis in contact with the ground during the entire game and must present a minimum degree of disability required by the sport.

Place: Riocentro Convention Center – Pavilion 3B

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