Para-Canoe will be one of the sports joining the programme at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.

In 2009, the International Canoe Federation launched the Para-Canoe Development Programme in a bid to expand the sport and increase the levels of competition available.

The inaugural Para-Canoe World Championships were held in conjunction with the Canoe Sprint World Championships in 2010 in Poznan, Poland. This competition also saw the introduction of the current Paralympic events and classification system, with 28 national federations competing from five continents. Jonathon Broome won Great Britain's first para-Canoe World Championship gold medal in the men's K1 200m A category.

The 2011 World Championships in Szeged, Hungary saw nearly 70 competitors take to the water. Canada and Brazil proved themselves to be leading nations in the sport. Great Britain secured third place on the medal table with a gold from Patrick Mahoney in the men's V1 200m LTA and Dan Hopwood racing up a classification in the men's VI 200m TA to take bronze.

The GB para-Canoe Programme was formed in 2011 and proved its potential at the 2012 para-Canoe World Championships in Poznan, where GB topped the medal table with five gold medals and one bronze. Former Paralympic swimmer Jeanette Chippington competed above her classification to take three gold medals. Nick Heald won gold in the men's V1 TA and Dan Hopwood, now racing within his own classification, took gold in the men's K1 A. To complete the medal haul, Pat Mahoney took bronze in the men's V1 LTA.

  • First year at a Paralympic Games:
  • Rio de Janeiro, 2016
  • Brief history:
  • Para-Canoe will become part of the Paralympic programme for the first time at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.
  • Eligible impairment groups:
  • Physical impairments.
  • Rio 2016 venue:
  • Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas (Copacabana Zone)


Competitors sprint over 200m in a Kayak or Va'a (Outrigger Canoe). Much like its Olympic counterpart, para-Canoeing is a race to make it to the finish line first. 

There are currently eight different events and this has the potential to increase as the sport develops further.


The classification system is based on an athlete's functional ability to paddle and apply force to the foot board or seat in order to propel the canoe.

LTA - Legs, Trunk, Arms: Athletes who have use of their legs, trunk and arms.

TA - Trunk, Arms: Athletes who have some trunk movement but are not able to propel the boat through hip rotation due to significant weakened function of the lower limbs.

A - Arms: Athletes who have trunk function, or those who have shoulder function only. Eligible athletes will be able to apply force predominantly using the arms and/or shoulders and is likely to have poor sitting balance.

More information will be added soon.


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