Sport

The intricacies of Paralympic throwing events

PAUL A REID Observer writer reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, September 04, 2012    

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LONDON, England — Unlike their able-bodied counterparts, competitors in the Paralympic throwing events do not have the luxury of time or rounds to get their techniques together, or to judge the attempts of those they are up against.

Because each athlete in the seated events has to be strapped into his own customised chairs, they have to do all three throws in each round one behind the other without the benefit of too long a break, or to gauge the efforts of those they are up against.

While the rules of the competition does not give a minimum or maximum amount of time the athletes can take to make certain their equipment are ready and the chairs firmly anchored by straps tethered to their ground, once they give the signal they are ready to go, the clock starts on all three throws, whether in the discus, javelin, shot put or club throw.

After each athlete has had his turns, and the top eight will then get another three chances, with the longest three throws in each classification getting the respective medals.

Because of the different levels of disabilities, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the world governing body for the sport, devises a variety of different classifications though all the different events in an effort to give each athlete a chance.

The classifications are marked by numbers starting from one through the 50s and are preceded by letters signifying the event.

For example, Jamaica's field event athletes Alphanso Cunningham, Tanto Campbell and Sylvia Grant would have the letter 'F' preceding their classification, indicating they are competing in field events, while the track athletes would have a 'T' designation.

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