Wojtek Czyz leaps in the air during competition in Dubai
Wojtek Czyz leaps in the air during competition in Dubai. Credit: Badminton Photo

What is Para badminton?

Para badminton is badminton for athletes with a range of physical disabilities.

Who can play Para badminton?

Para badminton players are grouped into competition sports classes according to how their physical impairment impacts their ability to carry out the skills of the sport. This ensures competition is fair and equitable.

Before an athlete can be put into a sports class they must go through a process of classification which determines if:

  • They have a health condition leading to one of the eligible impairment types.
  • Their impairment is permanent and meets the minimal impairment criteria (severity).

The eligible physical impairment types include one or more of the following: impaired muscle power; impaired range of movement; limb deficiency (amputation or congenital limb deformity); leg length difference; short stature; muscle tension, involuntary movements, or uncoordinated movements.

How do you play Para badminton?

As in badminton, Para badminton athletes compete in both men’s and women’s singles as well as men’s and women’s doubles, and mixed doubles. The objective is to hit the shuttlecock (also known as shuttle or birdie) over and across the net on the opponent’s court so that the opponent can’t find time to return it back and score a point.

The playing court of Para badminton is similar to that of badminton except that the singles matches of wheelchair and standing classes play half-court. In doubles matches both these classes play over the whole court. In wheelchair classes, the area between the short service line and the net is defined as outside court limit.

History of Para badminton

Para badminton players have competed internationally since the 1990s. The first World Championships took place in Amersfoort, Netherlands in 1998 and now occurs in every two years. Para badminton became a Paralympic sport in 2021, having made its debut at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. The International Paralympic Committee has confirmed Para badminton for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

Para badminton classifications

Wheelchair 1 (WH1)Players in this class require a wheelchair to play badminton. Players in this Sport Class usually have impairment in both lower limbs and trunk function.
Wheelchair 2 (WH2)A player in this class could have impairment in one or both lower limbs and minimal or no impairment of the trunk. Players are required to play in a wheelchair in this class.
Standing Lower (SL3)In this class, a player must play standing. The player could have impairment in one or both lower limbs and poor walking/running balance.
Standing Lower (SL4)In this standing class, a player has a lesser impairment compared to Sport Class SL3. The player could have impairment in one or both lower limbs and minimal impairment in walking/running balance.
Standing Upper (SU5)The players in this class have impairment to the upper limbs. The impairment could be on the playing or non-playing hand.
Short Stature (SH6)The players in this class have short stature, due to a genetic condition often referred to as ‘dwarfism’.
Information excerpt from BWF (https://corporate.bwfbadminton.com/para-badminton/)

How to get involved in Para badminton

Find upcoming events and information about Para badminton in New Zealand, and register for emil updates on Badminton New Zealand’s website. Alternatively, contact [email protected].

Find out more

For more information on Para badminton visit the Badminton World Federation.

To find out about Para sport opportunities for participants, coaches or volunteers in your area, register with Paralympics New Zealand.