Para table tennis

This sport is open to athletes with physical, intellectual or any other functional impairment. Competitions are individual, in teams and open disciplines for men and women.

Players are grouped in 11 categories, depending on their range of impairment.
This is a Para sport of speed and skill, and can be played on a wheelchair or standing up.

Sports classification

In Para table tennis, athletes are grouped into 11 classes, based on the impact of their impairment on their performance: 1-5 for those competing on wheelchairs, 6-10 for those who play standing and 11 for standing athletes with a learning disability. Within wheelchair and standing classes, the lower the number, the greater the impact the impairment has on an athlete's ability to compete.


This discipline was included at the 1960 Paralympics programme and at the 1999 Parapan American Games in Mexico City.

At first, only athletes on wheelchairs could play. But at the Toronto 1976 Paralympic Games, activities for standing players were included. Nowadays, this sport considers a range of athletes with physical and intellectual impairments.

Surprisingly, Para table tennis has a much longer history at the Paralympics than Table tennis at the Olympics, first appearing in 1988. Today, table tennis is the third largest sport in terms of number of athletes.

The Parapan American medal count is led by Brazil with 83 medals in total, 25 of which are gold.

How do you play?

The rules are practically the same as for regular table tennis, but with minor exceptions. One difference is that there are special rules regarding the ball toss part of the serve in some classes. Under Olympic rules, the ball must be placed in the open palm of the hand, thrown at least 16 cm into the air and struck. In Para table tennis, where this is not possible, the ball may be tossed by placing it on the elbow or on the racket in classes 1 to 5 (wheelchair classes).

A match is played over the best of five sets, with each set won by the first player to reach 11 points. A two-point winning margin is required to win each set.

Those who are standing play under the same conditions and rules as in the Olympic Games. They also play practically with the same speed, power and skills. The dimensions of the table are the same as for Olympic table tennis: 2.74 m long, 1.525 m wide and 76 cm high. Regarding wheelchair friendly tables, they should have legs at least 40 cm in from the end line for athletes to play as comfortably as possible.

There are men's, women's, individual and team competitions.


Para table tennis consists of how many sets?

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Information for the community

Para table tennis is the most practiced sport by impaired people in Chile. According to the Second National Study of Physical Activity and Sport Habits in the Population with Disabilities, carried out by the National Disability Service and the Sport Ministry, 17.5% of them practice this discipline, which demonstrates how popular table tennis is.

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