LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications
(SFC) The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Governing Board announced today that the Paralympic programme for Tokyo 2020 will feature 22 sports, with badminton and taekwondo debuting for the first time.
The IPC Governing Board approved a further six sports for inclusion in the Games, adding to the 16 sports that were ratified and announced after its meeting in October 2014. Therefor a maximum of 23 sports could have been included for 2020.
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will comprise: athletics, archery, badminton, boccia, canoe, cycling, equestrian, football 5-a-side, goalball, judo, powerlifting, rowing, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, triathlon, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair fencing, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis. The only sports that are not included in Tokyo 2020 are football 7-a-side and sailing
Sir Philip Craven, IPC President, said, "I would like to thank all 24 sports for applying for inclusion in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and pass on my congratulations to the 22 sports that have been approved by the IPC Governing Board.
"In particular, I'd like to pay testament to the sports of badminton and taekwondo for the work they have undertaken in securing their place at a Paralympic Games for the first time.
"To reach this decision, the IPC undertook the most extensive and rigorous review process ever of all the sports which started in November 2013.
"All were assessed against the same criteria and our aim all along has been to ensure that the final Tokyo 2020 Paralympic sports programme is fresh and features the best para-sports possible.
"The Board's final decision was not an easy one and, after much debate, we decided not to include two sports - football 7-a-side and sailing - from the Tokyo 2020 programme for the same reason. Both did not fulfil the IPC Handbook's minimum criteria for worldwide reach.
"Although the IPC Governing Board approved the inclusion of cycling, it did express serious reservations regarding the sustainability of the track cycling discipline.
"While a decision on the Tokyo 2020 medal events programme will not be made until 2017, the Board encourages the UCI to work towards increasing both the number of high-performance track cyclists and the number of opportunities for them to compete at an international level," he added.
Hidetoshi Fujisawa, Tokyo 2020 Executive Director of Communications and Engagement, said, "Tokyo 2020 welcomes the announcement made by the International Paralympic Committee Governing Board on 31 January regarding the 22 sports to be included in the sports programme for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
"This final line-up of sports brings us a step closer to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and will help the Organising Committee to further build momentum and excitement in Tokyo, Japan and throughout the entire world."
WTF President Chungwon Choue was delighted at the news and said, "We are delighted and humbled that the IPC Governing Board has selected para-taekwondo for inclusion on the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games sports programme for the very first time.
"We have always been 100% committed to making our sport a sport for all and inclusion in the Paralympic Games will help us to engage with more people than ever. Today is not just the realisation of a dream for us, but the realisation of a dream for the hundreds of para-taekwondo athletes around the world.
"We have achieved a lot but we know this is only the beginning for para-taekwondo. We are very grateful to the IPC for giving us and our athletes this opportunity and over the next five years we will work tirelessly to show them that they were right to put their faith in our sport. We look forward to working closely with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee to provide the ultimate sporting spectacle for Paralympic fans in 2020."
Back in 2010, the sports of para-badminton, intellectually impaired basketball, para-golf, powerchair football and para-taekwondo all applied to be part of the Rio 2016 Paralympic sports programme. However they were unsuccessful with the Governing Board instead choosing applications from para-canoe and para-triathlon.