© 2024 WSHU
NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

The Tokyo Paralympic Games Have The Most Athletes — And The Most Women — In History

If growing your roster were a Paralympic sport, this year's games would win gold.

There are 4,403 athletes taking part in the international competition getting underway Tuesday, according to the organizing committee for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

That bests the previous record for athletes competing in the Paralympics of 4,328 set in Rio in 2016.

The new record comes even as several teams have had to drop out of the games this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Afghanistan's Paralympic team also had to cancel its trip to Tokyo amid the ongoing upheaval in the country.

"To break the record for the highest number of athletes at Tokyo 2020 is testament to the tremendous work of all [National Paralympic Committees] and International Federations who have gone above and beyond the call of duty during the most testing of times," said International Paralympic Committee president Andrew Parsons in a statement.

Among those competing in the Tokyo Paralympic Games, 1,853 are women, another record. Previously, Rio 2016 had the most female athletes with 1,671.

"It is absolutely fantastic news that more women than ever before will compete at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and a lot of credit needs to go to NPCs and International Federations for ensuring this continued growth in numbers," Parsons added.

While the number of women at this year's games marks a record, they still account for just 42% of all athletes who are competing.

"Although we are still someway short of gender parity, we are heading in the right direction with the number of women competing at the Paralympics almost doubling since the Sydney 2000 Paralympics."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.