INTERNATIONAL PARALYMPIC DAY:

Everything you need to know about GB and the Paralympics


When and where are the Paralympics?

The opening ceremony is on 29 August, just over two weeks after the Olympics. The Games end on 9 September with the marathon the final event, finishing on The Mall, followed that evening by the closing ceremony back at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford. The Paralympics will be held in the venues built for the Olympics, with the odd exception such as the road cycling which will be held at Brands Hatch.





How do I get tickets?



Tickets go on sale from 9am today via www.tickets.london2012.com. It is the same system used for the Olympics, with the first window staying open until 26 September. Ticket prices range from £5 to £45 for the big athletic and swimming finals nights, with a top price for the opening ceremony of £500. As with the Olympics, the cheapest ticket for the ceremonies is a symbolic £20.12. For the Games as a whole 75 per cent of tickets are priced £20 or under. One difference to the Olympics is day passes – for £10 spectators can get into a number of events at the Olympic Park (but not athletics or swimming) or the Excel centre. A companion seat is included in the price of a wheelchair ticket.





Will there be high demand for tickets?



This will be the first Paralympics for which there are no handouts as organisers are confident of selling out the two million tickets on offer. Much of that optimism, which is echoed by Sir Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee, is based on receiving more than a million expressions of interest.





How does the Paralympics work? What do all the categories mean?



It's become one of the world's largest sporting events with over 4,500 athletes from 150 nations. There are 20 sports, again mostly on similar lines to the Olympics, with a total of 499 gold medals to be won. Wheelchair rugby – or murderball as the athletes call it – boccia, and goalball are the only unique Paralympic sports. Boccia is similar to boules, while goalball is akin to handball and is played by visually-impaired athletes (they play blindfolded to ensure a level playing field) with a ball that has a bell in it. There are six categories: amputee, cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, wheelchair, visually-impaired and les autres, which includes dwarfism. Within each sport there are then classification systems as athletes are divided depending on differing levels of impairment. In athletics events are tagged T for track or F for field and then a number according to the competing athletes' loss of function (as opposed to disability) – Oscar Pistorius runs in the T44 category, which is for amputees. The 50s cover wheelchair events, 30s cerebral palsy and 11-13 is visually impaired, which includes Jason Smyth, who ran for Ireland in the able-bodied world championships.





There is talk of the Paralympics coming home but isn't this the first time Britain has staged the Games?



On the same day that the London Olympics opened in 1948, Sir Ludwig Guttman, a German Jew who had fled his homeland shortly before the war, staged an archery competition at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire for 16 former British soldiers who had suffered spinal injuries during the Second World War. It has come to be regarded as the birth of the Paralympics – one of the 2012 mascots is called Mandeville – and Guttman, a neurosurgeon who was convinced of the revitalising power of sport, its founding father. It became an annual event with the Dutch providing the first overseas competition. Rome 1960, with 400 athletes from 23 countries, is recognised as the first Paralympics.





How will Britain do?



Very well, but the aim of the British Paralympic Association is not to just collect medals. "Holding the Paralympic Games can have a profound effect on the host country," says Tim Hollingsworth, chief executive of the British Paralympic Association. "That was seen in Beijing where the achievements of people with an impairment, who had once been hidden away, were celebrated by the whole nation." Penny Briscoe, the BPA's performance director, says: "We want to change the way people think and feel about disability, disabled sport and the Paralympics." China will top the medal table – weight of numbers makes that certain. Britain finished second in Beijing with 42 golds and 102 medals; the target is to hold on to that but with more medals. The British team will be around 300 strong, up on the 212 who went to Beijing, with the likes of Lee Pearson, in equestrianism, sprinter Ben Rushgrove, swimmer Ellie Simmonds, cyclist Sarah Storey and wheelchair athlete David Weir strongly fancied to provide a warming succession of gold medals.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
News
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project