Each participant is assigned a sport class consisting of two numbers. The first indicates the type of functional disability and the second figure is the degree of impairment. Additionally, it is accompanied by a T or an F in front of the number, which indicates whether the athlete competes in track events such as races and jumps, or in field events such as throwing events.
Some compete in wheelchairs and some with prostheses, while visually impaired athletes are supported by a guide or assistant.
It was one of the eight sports included in the first Paralympic Games in Rome 1960 and has been on the program ever since, attracting the widest audiences and television audiences. Today, World Para Athletics functions as the international federation and is based in Bonn, Germany.
The discipline is open to men and women in all eligible disability groups. Para athletics offers a wide range of competition modalities.