The Paralympic Games opened in Tokyo, Japan just days after the Olympic Games. These games are similar to the Olympics but are for athletes who have a disability which means that they cannot compete fairly with athletes who compete in the Olympic Games. Most of the events are similar to the events in the Olympics; however, there are some different events like wheelchair rugby (played with a basketball on a basketball court) for athletes who cannot use their legs.
New Zealand sent a team of 29 to Tokyo to compete in the Paralympics. Some athletes had helpers with them, most had a coach. Blind cyclists rode behind a sighted cyclist on a tandem bicycle. Blind runners racing in events longer than 100m, had a short rope around their wrist connected to a helper who ran with them.
It has been amazing to watch swimmers with only one arm or one leg, or no arms. Athletes with artificial legs took part in the long jump. One table tennis player without arms held his racket in his mouth.
One thing was obvious: all the athletes were extremely fit and keen to compete. This was a great opportunity for them to show what they can do. They did not let their disability stop them from taking part in sport, and were good enough to compete with similar athletes from around the world.
para- (prefix)– side by side, similar
disability (n) – loss of ability
compete (v) – take part in a competition
sighted (adj) – someone who has eyesight, not blind
tandem bicycle – a bicycle for two people