In Depth

Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games guide: opening ceremony, sports, venues and UK TV details

4,350 athletes will compete across 22 sports in Japan’s capital city

Tokyo’s summer of sport continues with the world’s top paralympians heading to the Japanese capital to take part in the 16th edition of the Summer Paralympic Games. Scheduled from Tuesday 24 August to Sunday 5 September, the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics will include 4,350 athletes competing to win 540 gold medals.

There will be no spectators for the Paralympics due to the Covid-19 situation in Tokyo, but just like the dramatic Olympic Games, you can expect an “incredible couple of weeks of glory and despair, and every human emotion in between”, says The Guardian’s Martin Belam. 

Tokyo’s Paralympic mascot is called Someity - a “cool character with cherry blossom tactile sensors”. Someity “embodies Paralympic athletes that demonstrate superhuman power”.


Opening ceremony 

Tuesday’s opening ceremony for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games starts at midday BST and will be shown live on Channel 4 from 11am to 3.10pm. Unlike the Olympics, the sport begins after the opening ceremony with the action kicking off on Wednesday 25 August. 


Channel 4’s presenter line-up for the Tokyo Paralympics

Channel 4’s presenter line-up for the Tokyo Paralympics

How to watch in the UK

The Tokyo Paralympic Games will be shown exclusively live in the UK on Channel 4’s TV and digital platforms. The broadcaster has confirmed its “most ambitious” coverage of the games ever with 300 hours of round-the-clock action on the main TV channel, More 4, All 4 and the website. The online microsite will feature 16 live streams and more than 1,000 hours of coverage. 

Dedicated programmes on Channel 4’s schedule include Paralympics Breakfast with Arthur Williams and Steph McGovern, Tokyo Today with Ade Adepitan, and Gold Rush with Clare Balding. 

The Last Leg of Tokyo 2020 will see Adam Hills, Alex Brooker and Josh Widdicombe present from London while Rosie Jones will be the show’s roving reporter in Tokyo. The award-winning series began as part of Channel 4’s programming for the 2012 Paralympics in London.  


The silver, gold and bronze medals for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games

The medals for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games

Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP via Getty Images

Sports and athletes 

Tokyo 2020 will be the second time that Japan’s capital has hosted the summer Paralympic Games. Tokyo first hosted in 1964 with 378 athletes from 21 countries competing in nine sports. This year there will be 4,350 athletes competing in 539 events across 22 sports. Badminton and taekwondo are two new sports added to the programme.

  • Archery 
  • Athletics 
  • Badminton 
  • Boccia 
  • Canoe Sprint 
  • Cycling Road 
  • Cycling Track 
  • Equestrian 
  • Football 5-a-side 
  • Goalball 
  • Judo 
  • Powerlifting 
  • Rowing 
  • Shooting 
  • Sitting Volleyball 
  • Swimming 
  • Table Tennis 
  • Taekwondo 
  • Triathlon 
  • Wheelchair Basketball 
  • Wheelchair Fencing 
  • Wheelchair Rugby 
  • Wheelchair Tennis


The Olympic Stadium is the main venue for Tokyo 2020

The Olympic Stadium in Tokyo

Behrouz Mehri/AFP via Getty Images


  • Olympic Stadium: opening ceremony, closing ceremony, Athletics 
  • Aomi Urban Sports Park: Football 5-A-Side
  • Ariake Arena: Wheelchair Basketball 
  • Ariake Gymnastics Centre: Boccia
  • Asaka Shooting Range: Shooting
  • Fuji International Speedway: Cycling Road
  • Izu Velodrome: Cycling Track
  • Equestrian Park: Equestrian 
  • Makuhari Messe: Sitting Volleyball, Wheelchair Fencing, Goalball
  • Musashino Forest Sport Plaza: Wheelchair Basketball
  • Nippon Budokan: Judo
  • Odaiba Marine Park: Triathlon
  • Sea Forest Waterway: Rowing, Canoe Sprint 
  • Tokyo Aquatics Centre: Swimming
  • Tokyo International Forum: Powerlifting 
  • Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium: Table Tennis 
  • Yoyogi National Stadium: Badminton, Wheelchair Rugby 
  • Yumenoshima Park Archery Field: Archery


ParalympicsGB swimmer Ellie Challis

ParalympicsGB swimmer Ellie Challis

Clive Rose/Getty Images


Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s Paralympic Games squad won 147 medals five years ago in Rio and will be aiming to better that tally in Tokyo. 

ParalympicsGB will have 228 athletes competing in 19 sports - 100 athletes are female and 128 are male. The youngest competitor is 17-year-old Ellie Challis (swimming) and the oldest is 57-year-old John Stubbs (archery).

David Weir (athletics), Maisie Summers-Newton (swimming), Dave Ellis (triathlon), Jaco van Gass (cycling), Sophie Wells (equestrian), Libby Clegg (athletics), Beth Munro (taekwondo) and Thomas Young (athletics) have been picked out by BBC Sport as the ParalympicsGB athletes to watch in Tokyo. 


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