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Para table tennis

Alfie hugs male Doubles partner who wears red

What is Para table tennis?

Para table tennis is the third largest Paralympic sport in terms of athlete numbers and is practiced in more than 100 countries. 

History of Para table tennis

Para table tennis was first included in the Paralympic Games in Rome in 1960. At first, only athletes in wheelchairs competed in Para table tennis. It is now practiced by Para athletes in more than 100 different countries, with a wide range of eligible impairments.

New Zealanders competed in Para table tennis at the Paralympic Games in Tel Aviv 1968 and Toronto 1976. No Kiwi has won a Paralympic medal in the sport yet.

How do you play Para table tennis?

Para table tennis follows the usual table tennis rules with only slight modifications. For example, matches consist of five sets of 11 points each and are played over the best of five games, rather than seven. Men and women can participate in individual, doubles or team events. 

Who can compete in Para table tennis?

This sport is open to Para athletes with upper and lower limb paralysis, cerebral palsy, amputees and other physical disabilities like multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy.

Para athletes compete in classes according to their functional ability. Para athletes receive classifications between 1-11:

  • Classes 1-5 are for those in wheelchairs.
  • Classes 6-10 are for those with impairments that allow them to play standing.
  • Within each of those groups, the higher the classification, the more function the Para athlete has.
  • Class 11 is defined for players with an intellectual impairment.

Another competitive pathway for table tennis players with an intellectual impairment is the Virtus Global Games.

Para table tennis in New Zealand

Several of New Zealand’s early Paralympians competed in Para table tennis, though no Kiwi has won a Paralympic medal in the sport to date.

At the Virtus Global Games, Alfie Linn won New Zealand’s first medals in 2023, at his second Global Games appearance.

Para table tennis is currently played in some regions in New Zealand. Find upcoming events and information about Para table tennis in New Zealand on Table Tennis New Zealand’s website. Alternatively, contact Jessica MacAskill, Community Manager.

Register with Paralympics New Zealand now and we will help you to find a Para sport for you in your local area!

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