The Rio Paralympics starts this week and over 4,000 athletes will take part. The games take place from the 7th to the 18th September with athletes competing in over twenty two sporting events. These sports range from athletics to cycling, archery, canoeing, power lifting, swimming and more.

Among the athletes will be participants with a visual impairment. Blind and partially sighted people who enter competitions nationally and internationally need a sight classification. These classifications ensure that there is a fair and equal competition.

The classifications are as follows:

B1: This category encompasses no light perception in either eye up to light perception, but inability to recognise shapes at any distance or in any direction.

B2 & B3: Both of these categories involve a low level of usable partial vision, those in the B3 category will be able to see more than those graded as B2. B3 is the highest category used for international & Paralympic sport.

B4: This is a good level of partial sight, the category is specific to sport in this country but is still included in the majority of sports. Anyone with more than roughly 25% of normal vision is likely to be too sighted for this category.

B5: This category used to be referred to as B4+, it has no top limit and is banned in almost all visually impaired sports, although at least two sports do allow it

Information taken from British Blind Sport

Blind or partially sighted athletes can take part in a number of sports.  The BBC created a very useful A-Z of Paralympic sport classification looking at the various sports and who can compete.

What sports will you be looking forward to? If you want to find out more about what sports you could take part in why not visit the Parasport sight which helps to identify which sport is right for you and where you can go to play it.