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24 Sep 2004
Olympic News

Unique sports at the Paralympics

The Paralympic Games enter their second week on Saturday. Several world records have already been broken, and the competitions are of the highest level. Among the 19 sports on the ATHENS 2004 Paralympic Games Programme are four sports that have no Olympic equivalent. These are Boccia, Goalball, Powerlifting and Wheelchair Rugby.


The aim of the game is to throw/bowl game balls so that they land as close as possible to a special target ball, the "jack". Boccia is open to athletes with severe cerebral palsy or related neurological conditions using a wheelchair. All events are mixed and feature individual, pair and team competitions for a total of seven medal events. Boccia is played on a marked court, usually with a hard surface.


Goalball is played by male and female athletes who are visually impaired. The object of the game is to roll the ball into the opponent's goal while the opposing players try to block the ball with their bodies. Bells inside the ball help to orient the players indicating the direction of the oncoming ball. Therefore, while play is in progress, the gymnasium is completely silent so as to allow the players to concentrate and react instantly to the ball.


In Powerlifting, competitors must lower the bar to their chest, hold it motionless on the chest and then press it upwards to arms' length with locked elbows. The bench press is the only discipline, with 10 different categories based on body weight.

Wheelchair Rugby

The sport may be very physical as athletes attempt to carry the ball over the opponents' goal line. In Paralympic competition, male and female athletes compete on the same teams, thus there is only one team event that accommodates all athletes.

Learn more on the Iinternational Paralympic Committee (IPC)

Official website of the IPC

Official website of the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens
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