Tokyo Paralympics: Start date, key events, Team GB chances & how to watch

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games are starting in Japan next week

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games are now just around the corner, albeit one year later than planned.

Following the success of the Olympics in the Japanese capital, Para-athletes are now ready and raring to take to the world stage.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Games:

Where are the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games happening?

This year’s Paralympic Games will take place in the Japanese capital of Tokyo. Fifteen venues will be used across the city, including the National Stadium for the athletics and Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

A number of events will also be taking place in areas outside of Tokyo, including Chōfu, Nerima, Izu and in the foothills of Mount Fuji.

The National Stadium in Tokyo will stage the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games

When are the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games happening?

The Opening Ceremony is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, August 24th. Twelve days of competition will then follow, with the Closing Ceremony set to be held on September 5th.

How can I watch the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games?

For UK viewers, Channel 4 will be broadcasting more than 300 hours of action from the Paralympic.

Ade Adepitan will present the the highlights show from Tokyo, while Sophie Morgan, JJ Chalmers, Ed Jackson, Lee McKenzie and Vick Hope will all report from Japan.

Clare Balding will present live coverage in the UK, with Arthur Williams and Steph McGovern set to head up a daily Paralympics Breakfast Show. Channel 4’s popular comedy show The Last Leg will also be broadcast daily during the Games.

Will there be fans at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games?

No spectators will be able to attend the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. The decision was made earlier this week due to rising COVID-19 cases in Japan.

There were exceptions made regarding fan attendance for the Olympic Games, with some spectators allowed into events in areas outside of Tokyo. But there will be a blanket ban on fans for the Paralympics, aside from some children attending a number of unspecified events.

Organisers have also asked the public to refrain from coming out to watch road events.

No spectators will be allowed at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games

How many events are there at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games?

Around 4,400 athletes will compete across 540 events in 22 sports at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Badminton and taekwondo are set to debut on the Paralympic programme, while canoe and triathlon will return to the Games after appearing at Rio 2016 for the first time.

New disciplines have also been added to the Paralympic Games, with the Va’a event added to Para-canoe and the R9 mixed 50 prone SH2 to Para shooting. Para-rowing will also use the Olympic distance of 2,000 metres for the first time.

The distance for Para-rowing races at the Paralympic Games has increased

Who are the British hopefuls at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games?

Hannah Cockroft – Para-athletics

Five-times Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft will be competing at her third Games this summer. The 28-year-old will be defending her titles in the 100 metre, 400m and 800m T34 events. She will also be looking to reclaim the 200m title she first earned at London 2012.

Cockfroft is also a 12-time world champion and world record holder in the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m. She will be aiming to maintain her dominance in wheelchair racing at Tokyo 2020.

Hannah Cockroft will be competing at her third Paralympic Games

Amy Truesdale – Para taekwondo

With taekwondo set to make its debut on the Paralympic programme at Tokyo 2020, Amy Truesdale will be competing at the Games for the first time.

The 29-year-old is considered one of the pioneers of Para-taekwondo, participating in every World Championships since the first edition in 2009. She has also medalled at every tournament, including world titles in 2014 and 2017.

A favourite for Paralympic gold in the women’s over-58 kilogram division, Truesdale is finally getting an opportunity to compete on the biggest stage in sport.

Kadeena Cox – Para-athletics and Para-cycling

Kadeena Cox was a sprinter from an early age, entering Para-athletics in 2015 after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Just one year later, Cox was at the Rio 2016 Paralympics. Not content with just one sport, she also competed in Para-cyling in the Brazilian city. She finished the Games with a gold medal in both the T38 400m sprint and C4-5 time trial.

The 30-year-old will be competing on both the track and a bike in Tokyo for a second successive Games.

Kadeena Cox will be competing in Para-athletics and Para-cycling at Tokyo 2020

Sophie Wells – Para-equestrian

A mainstay of the British equestrian team since 2009, Sophie Wells will be hoping to add to her Paralympic medal collection at Tokyo 2020.

The 31-year-old clinched team gold and individual and freestyle silvers at London 2012, before earning another team gold at Rio 2016, alongside individual gold and freestyle silver.

Wells’s preparations for Tokyo 2020 have not been plain sailing. Her horse, C Fatal Attraction, was ruled out of the Paralympics earlier this month. Fortunately for Wells, she will be able to ride her reserve horse Don Cara M, who she has been working with since early last year.

Sophie Wells is a Para-equestrian legend

Maisie Summers-Newton – Para-swimming

Ellie Simmonds is one of the most well-known Paralympians in Britain, but she could be overshadowed by teammate Maisie Summers-Newton at Tokyo 2020.

The 19-year-old is already a world and European champion, and a world record holder. She took Simmonds's world title in the 200m individual medley back in 2019, and will be hoping to perform over the distance in the Japanese capital as well. Summers-Newton should also be a contender in the SB6 100m breaststroke.

For Simmonds, Tokyo 2020 will be her fourth Paralympic Games. She has five gold medals to her name, alongside a silver and two bronze.

Who are the other athletes to watch?

Leani Ratri Oktila – Para-badminton, Indonesia

With Para-badminton making its debut at the Games, Leani Ratri Oktila will be appearing on the Paralympic stage for the first time. She has three world titles – one in women's singles from 2019, and two in mixed doubles in 2017 and 2019. 

Carol Cooke – Para-cycling, Australia

Carol Cooke is Canadian-born but represents Australia on the international stage. She will be 60-years-old at the start of the Games, but will be aiming to show age is just a number by adding to her three Paralympic gold medals from London 2012 and Rio 2016. 

Lucy Ejike – Powerlifting, Nigeria

Lucy Ejike will be competing at an incredible sixth Paralympic Games in Tokyo, having appeared at every edition since Sydney 2000. So far, she has three gold and two silver medals. 

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