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Badminton And Taekwondo Are Making Their Paralympic Debuts In Tokyo

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Peruvian Para badminton player Pedro Pablo de Vinatea trains during government-ordered coronavirus lockdown on June 13, 2020, in Lima, Peru. Badminton is making its debut at the Paralympic Games this summer in Tokyo.
Raul Sifuentes, Getty Images

Peruvian Para badminton player Pedro Pablo de Vinatea trains during government-ordered coronavirus lockdown on June 13, 2020, in Lima, Peru. Badminton is making its debut at the Paralympic Games this summer in Tokyo.

Two of the 28 sports sanctioned by the International Paralympic Committee are new to the Paralympic Games: badminton and taekwondo.

Although the IPC announced that badminton would become an official sport in 2015, it is just now making its debut.

Athletes for the badminton competition are sorted into six classes: two wheelchair classes and four standing classes. There are men's and women's singles as well as men's, women's and mixed doubles.

Most of the rules for Para badminton are the same as the able-bodied version of the sport, according to the organizing committee. The height of the net is also the same, standing at just over 5 feet.

Athletes in the two wheelchair classes use competition wheelchairs with special modifications for the sport, such as a low backrest to enable more shots, as well as extra wheels to prevent overturning.

Taekwondo will be the first full-contact Paralympic sport ever.

Developed in 2006, Para taekwondo has the same rules as its Olympic counterpart with some changes for safety.

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Kicks to the head are banned, and punches to the body won't count toward a competitor's score, "as athletes have different capacities to block," the organizing committee said.

Instead, Para taekwondoins, as they are called, can rack up additional points by landing more challenging kicks, such as a turn kick or a spinning kick.

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