Football 7-a-side

•June 13, 2011 • Leave a Comment
Football 7-a-side
Exciting, end-to-end action is guaranteed at the 7-a-side Football tournament, one of two Football competitions at the Paralympic Games.
The sport is governed by the Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association (CPISRA)

Key facts

Venue: Olympic Park – Hockey Centre
Dates: Saturday 1 September – Sunday 9 September 2012
Medal events: 1
Athletes: 96 (all men; eight teams)

 

One of two Football variations played at the Paralympic Games, 7-a-side Football is a fast-moving and fiercely competitive sport played by athletes with cerebral palsy. At London 2012, the Hockey Centre will host eight men’s teams in a 20-match tournament, culminating in the gold medal match on 9 September.

 

The basics

7-a-side Football follows FIFA rules, with some modifications: each team consists of seven players; the playing field is smaller, as are the goals (5m by 2m); there’s no offside rule; throw-ins may be made with one hand only; and each half lasts 30 minutes. Teams are made up of ambulant cerebral palsy athletes, and each side must maintain a line-up featuring players with varying levels of disability.

The Paralympic tournament will feature eight men’s teams, initially two groups of four teams playing in a round-robin format. The top two teams in each group will qualify for the semi-finals, with the winning semi-finalists going head to head for the gold.

Football 7-a-side at the Paralympic Games, past and present

 

7-a-side Football has been part of the Paralympic programme since the New York and Stoke Mandeville 1984 Games. At London 2012, all matches will be played at the brand new Hockey Centre in the Olympic Park, which will also stage the 5-a-side Football competition.

Jargon buster

 

– Extra time: If a match in the knockout stages is tied at the end of 60 minutes, the teams play 20 minutes of extra time in a bid to find a winner.
– Penalty shootout:
 If a match remains tied after extra time, it is decided by a penalty shootout following standard FIFA rules.
– Pitch:
 The playing area, measuring no less than 70m x 50m and no more than 75m x 55m.

Get involved

To find out more about grassroots development programmes, visit the websites of the FAthe Scottish FAthe Football Association of Wales and the Irish FA, all of which organise opportunities for athletes with a disability.

It’s easy to get started – you can find a local club through the Disability Footballclub directory, by contacting your county Football association or on the Parasport website. The Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association (or CPISRA) governs the sport at international level.

Ukraine take on Russia in Beijing 2008

Football 5-a-side

•June 13, 2011 • Leave a Comment
Played by visually impaired athletes, 5-a-side Football is an action-packed spectacle.
The first national 5-a-side Championships took place in Spain in 1986.

Key facts

Venue: Olympic Park – Hockey Centre
Dates: Friday 31 August – Saturday 8 September 2012
Medal events: 1
Athletes: 64 (all men; eight teams)

One of two forms of Football on the Paralympic programme, 5-a-side Football is a thrilling, fast-moving spectacle. Played by visually impaired athletes using a ball with a noise-making device inside, the sport offers skill and drama in equal measure, with eight teams battling for gold at the new Hockey Centre in the Olympic Park.

The basics

Matches are played between two teams, each with four outfield players and a goalkeeper. The outfield players are visually impaired, and wear eyeshades to ensure fairness; however, the goalkeeper may be fully or partially sighted. The pitch is surrounded with a rebound wall; the sport is played with no throw-ins and no offside rule, which ensures non-stop action. Matches are played over two halves of 25 minutes each, plus 10 minutes for half-time.

The Paralympic tournament will feature eight men’s teams, initially two groups of four teams in a round-robin format. The top two teams in each group will qualify for the semi-finals, with the winning semi-finalists going head to head for the gold.

Football 5-a-side at the Paralympic Games, past and present

5-a-side Football made its Paralympic debut at Athens in 2004. At London 2012, all matches will be played at the brand new Hockey Centre in the Olympic Park, which will stage both the 5-a-side and 7-a-side Football competitions on alternating days.

Jargon buster

– Countdown: During the last two minutes of each half, the clock is stopped for free kicks, kick-ins, goal clearances and corner kicks.
-Extra time: If a match in the knockout stages is tied at the end of 50 minutes, the teams play 10 minutes of extra time in a bid to find a winner.
– Guides’ areas: 
The pitch is divided into thirds, with each team allowed one guide for each third of the pitch to call out instructions: the attacking third; the midfield third, for which the team’s coach is the guide; and the defensive third, for which the goalkeeper serves as the guide.
– Pitch: The playing area, measuring 42m x 22m.

Get involved

To find out more about grassroots development programmes, visit the websites of the FAthe Scottish FAthe Football Association of Wales and the Irish FA, all of which organise opportunities for athletes with a disability.

It’s easy to get started – you can find a local club through the Disability Footballclub directory, by contacting your county Football association or on the Parasport website. The international governing body for the sport, the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA), is also a good resource.

Football 5-a-side at Athens 2004

Paralympic Equestrian

•June 13, 2011 • Leave a Comment
The Paralympic Equestrian events will test the ability of horse and rider to display both athletic prowess and supreme elegance.
The first World Championships took place in Sweden in 1987.

Key facts

Venue: Greenwich Park
Dates: Thursday 30 August – Tuesday 4 September 2012
Medal events: 11
Athletes: 78

 

Athletes with a disability have long taken part in Equestrian activities, originally as a means of rehabilitation and recreation. Para-Equestrian Dressage developed in the 1970s, with the first events held in Great Britain and Scandinavia. The multi-disability sport has since spread around the world, and athletes from more than 40 countries now compete on a regular basis.

The basics

 

At the Paralympic Games, athletes compete in two Dressage tests: a Championship Test, made up of set movements, and a Freestyle Test, for which athletes choose their own movements and music. There is also a team event, for three to four athletes per team. Through the tests, horse and rider must be in harmony, and the overall picture must be of lightness and rhythm.

The athletes are classified across five grades, which determine the complexity of the movements that the riders perform with their horses. These grades ensure that the tests can be judged on the skill of the rider, regardless of their disability. Riders may use permitted assistive devices such as dressage crops, connecting rein bars and the like; visually impaired riders are permitted to use ‘callers’ to help them navigate around the arena.

Paralympic Equestrian, past and present

Equestrian events first appeared on the Paralympic programme at the Los Angeles 1984 Games, and have featured at every Games since Atlanta 1996.

For London 2012, the Equestrian competition will be held in the beautiful surroundings of Greenwich Park. Dating back to 1433, it is the oldest Royal Park in London, part of the Maritime Greenwich area that has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Jargon buster 

– Canter: A steady controlled gait for which three of the horse’s legs are off the ground at once.
– Full-pass: When a horse moves sideways, bent in the direction of movement.
– Half-pass:
 When a horse moves forwards and sideways at the same time, bent in the direction of movement.
– Self-carriage:
 When a horse moves in balance without support from the reins.

Get involved

If you are new to the sport and want to find out more, the British Equestrian Federation website is a good place to start. Learn more about how to get involved on the Parasport website and at the Riding for Disabled Association website. You’ll also find plenty of information on the website of the International Equestrian Federation.

The Paralympic Equestrian Team Test, Beijing 2008

Paralympic Cycling – Track

•June 13, 2011 • Leave a Comment
Paralympic Cycling – Track
Held across two disciplines, Road and Track, Cycling looks set to be one of the most popular sports at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Handcycling – for athletes with lower limb disabilities – was introduced at the Athens 2004 Games.

Key facts

Venue:  Olympic Park – Velodrome
Dates: Thursday 30 August – Sunday 2 September 2012
Medals events: 18
Athletes: 225 – 155 men, 70 women (across Road and Track)

Paralympic Cycling was originally developed as a sport for blind athletes, who first competed using tandem bicycles. Technological advancements have since opened up the sport to a wider range of athletes; as a result, it is now the third largest sport on the Paralympic programme. At London 2012, athletes will race on both the road and the track in a series of events that should draw massive crowds.

 

The 50 medal events that make up the Paralympic Cycling competition feature athletes with a visual impairment, cerebral palsy, amputations or other physical disabilities competing on bicycles, tricycles, tandems and hand cycles.

The basics

At London 2012, there will be 18 Paralympic Track Cycling events (10 for men, seven for women and one mixed event), which variously test speed, endurance and teamwork.

 

Paralympic Track Cycling, past and present

The first Track Cycling races at the Paralympic Games took place at the Atlanta 1996 Games. At London 2012, when the programme will feature more medal events than at any previous Paralympic Games, the Track events will be held at the brand new Velodrome in the Olympic Park.

Jargon buster

 

– Road Race: For the Road Races, all riders start together, and the first to cross the finish line wins gold.
– Time Trial: The Road Cycling Time Trials differ from the Road Races in that the riders set off at intervals, and the winner is the rider with the fastest time over the course.

Get involved

Cycling is a great way to keep fit, as well as an environmentally friendly means of transport. British Cycling’s club development programme, called Go-Ride, is aimed at encouraging clubs to help young cyclists enjoy cycling in a safe, off-road environment. For more information on cycling, including details of clubs and events of all sorts, see the websites of British Cycling and the InternationalCycling Union.

 

Men's individual pursuit, Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games

Boccia

•June 13, 2011 • Leave a Comment
Boccia
Boccia is a target sport that tests muscle control and accuracy, demanding extreme skill and concentration at the highest level.
Boccia is played in more than 50 countries.

Key facts

Venue: ExCeL
Dates: Sunday 2 September – Saturday 8 September 2012
Medal events: 7
Athletes: 104

Believed to have Ancient Greek origins, Boccia is a tough test of nerve, tactics and skill. Played on a rectangular court by individuals, pairs and teams, the sport offers both tension and excitement, as athletes aim to land balls close to a target ball, across a series of demanding ends.

The basics

The object of the game is to propel a ball so that it lands as close as possible to the white target ball, known as the ‘jack’. Each player, pair or team gets six balls on each end. At the close of each end, the athlete, pair or team whose ball is closest to the jack scores one point, and receives an additional point for every ball that sits closer to the jack than the opposition’s closest ball. Individual and pairs matches consist of four ends, while team events are held over six ends.

Boccia is played by wheelchair athletes with cerebral palsy and related locomotor conditions, with players required to be in a seated position within a throwing box at one end of the playing court. The classification system ensures an even playing field for athletes to compete against others with similar disabilities.

Boccia, past and present

Boccia was introduced to the Paralympic programme at the New York and Stoke Mandeville 1984 Games. Today, there are seven medal events on the programme, all of which are open to athletes of either gender. The sport is currently played competitively in more than 50 countries worldwide.

For London 2012, the Boccia competition will be held at ExCeL, a multi-purpose events venue that will also host a number of other Paralympic and Olympic sports.

Jargon buster

– Court: The playing area, measuring 12.5m x 6m.
– End:
 A passage of play that features six balls per athlete, pair or team.
– Jack:
 The white target ball; competitors aim to land their balls as close to the jack as possible

Get involved

Boccia is truly a sport for all. A game of skill, it can be played together by men and women of all ages – with or without a disability.

The Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association (or CPISRA) governs the sport at international level; to get involved with the sport in the UK, check with Boccia EnglandScottish Disability Sport, the Federation of Disability Sport Wales or Disability Sports Northern Ireland. You can also learn more about how to get involved on the Parasport website.

Great Britain compete in the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games

Paralympic Cycling Road

•June 13, 2011 • Leave a Comment
Held across two disciplines, Road and Track, Cycling looks set to be one of the most popular sports at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Handcycling – for athletes with lower limb disabilities – was introduced at the Athens 2004 Games.

Key facts

VenueBrands Hatch
Dates: Wednesday 5 September – Saturday 8 September 2012
Medal events: 32
Athletes: 225 – 155 men, 70 women (across Road and Track)

Paralympic Cycling was originally developed as a sport for blind athletes, who first competed using tandem bicycles. Technological advancements have since opened up the sport to a wider range of athletes; as a result, it is now the third largest sport on the Paralympic programme.

The basics

The 50 medal events that make up the Paralympic Cycling competition feature athletes with a visual impairment, cerebral palsy, amputations or other physical disabilities competing on bicycles, tricycles, tandems and hand cycles.

At London 2012, there will be 32 Paralympic Road Cycling events, with the Road Races and Time Trials supplemented by the Team Relay.

Paralympic Road Cycling, past and present

Road Cycling was introduced as a Paralympic sport in 1984. At London 2012, the Paralympic Road Cycling will be held at Brands Hatch. Athletes will race in a series of events that should draw massive crowds.

Jargon buster

– Road Race: For the Road Races, all riders start together, and the first to cross the finish line wins gold.
– Time Trial:
 The Road Cycling Time Trials differ from the Road Races in that the riders set off at intervals, and the winner is the rider with the fastest time over the course.

Get involved

Cycling is a great way to keep fit, as well as an environmentally friendly means of transport. British Cycling’s club development programme, called Go-Ride, is aimed at encouraging clubs to help young cyclists enjoy cycling in a safe, off-road environment. For more information on cycling, including details of clubs and events of all sorts, see the websites of British Cycling and the InternationalCycling Union.

The women's Road Race, Beijing 2008

Paralympic Archery

•June 13, 2011 • Leave a Comment
Paralympic Archery
Skill, concentration and nerves of steel will all be on show at the Paralympic Archery competition at London 2012.

 Antonio Rebollo of Spain shot Paralympic Archery into the big time by famously firing a flaming arrow to light the Olympic Flame at the Opening Ceremony of the Barcelona 1992 Games.

Key facts

VenueThe Royal Artillery Barracks
Dates: Thursday 30 August – Wednesday 5 September 2012
Medal events: 9
Athletes: 140 (88 men, 52 women)

Although Paralympic Archery was originally developed as a means of rehabilitation and recreation for people with a physical disability, it rapidly evolved into a competitive sport. At London 2012, the Paralympic Archery competition will consist of standing and wheelchair events for individuals and teams, and promises plenty of drama in the historic surroundings of The Royal Artillery Barracks

The basics

The object of the sport is simple: to shoot arrows as close to the centre of a target as possible. Paralympic Archery targets are 122 centimetres in diameter, with the gold ring at the centre (worth a maximum 10 points) measuring just 12.2cm. Archers shoot at the target from a distance of 70 metres.

At the Paralympic Games, the individual competitions will be played in a knockout format. Matches will be played over the best of five sets, with each set consisting of three arrows per archer. The winners of each match will qualify for the next round, until the last two archers go head to head in the gold medal match. A knockout format will also be used for the men’s and women’s team competitions, which features teams of three archers competing against each other in a best-of-24-arrows format.

Paralympic Archery, past and present

 

No sport has as great a Paralympic history as Archery. It featured at the first Stoke Mandeville Games in 1948, the direct precursor to the Paralympic Games, and has featured on every Paralympic programme since the first Games in 1960.

At London 2012, the Paralympic Archery competition will be held at a truly historic venue: The Royal Artillery Barracks. Its rich heritage dates back to 1716, when a Royal Warrant authorised the formation of two artillery companies at the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich. The current building was constructed between 1775 and 1802.

Jargon buster

– Boss: The target, usually a square black block made of compacted foam, to which the target face is attached.– Bowman: An archer.
– Draw: The act of pulling back the bow string in preparation for shooting.
– Nock: A notch at the end of an arrow that rests against the bow string.

Get involved

You may be able to sign up for an archery course at your local leisure or outdoor sports centre, but the best way to learn is to join an accredited club. For details, visit the website of Archery GB or contact the British Wheelchair Archery Association, which runs training weekends. The International Archery Federationalso offers plenty of information about the sport, and you can learn more about how to get involved on the Parasport website.

John Cavanagh of Great Britain in action