Justice, Peace, Reconciliation?

No. But, as the tagline for a non-governmental organization, it’s not bad.
(Interested parties, please let me know.)

Our roundup of sports scheduled for the upcoming London 2012 Paralympic Games today considers

Judo, Powerlifting, Rowing

Judo, Powerlifting, and Rowing.

My thanks to the official London 2012 Paralympics website team


for facts and figures.

Here we go.


Developed from jujitsu and established as a sport in the late 19th century by Dr Jigoro Kano, Judo is the only martial art on the Paralympic program. It is contested at the Paralympic Games by visually impaired athletes.

Three classes of athletes compete in Judo: B1, B2 and B3. B1 athletes are classed as blind, while B2 and B3 have different degrees of visual impairment. All athletes compete together.

B1 athletes have a red circle sewn on to the sleeves of their judogi (judo suits). This is so that the officials can apply the rules according to their special circumstances. Similarly, when an athlete is also deaf as well as visually impaired, a small blue circle will be attached on the back of the judogi.

There is very little variation between Paralympic Judo and its mainstream Olympic counterpart. The principal difference is that in order to orientate themselves, players must have physical contact with their opponent, before each contest begins.

Judo contests are fought on a mat, or tatami. The contest area is 8m x 8m, with a 1m safety area all the way around.

Two athletes (judokas) gain points for throws, holds, armlocks and strangles in a bid to beat their opponent.

A contest lasts for five minutes, with the athlete who has the highest score at the end of the contest the winner.

The contest will stop immediately if one judoka achieves ippon – the maximum score, two waza-ari (a lower score), or if the opponent either submits or is disqualified.

The scores of waza-ari and yuko depend on how the opponent lands upon being thrown, and how long a judoka can immobilise their opponent on their back.

The referee gets the contest underway by shouting ‘Hajime!’ and stops it by shouting ‘Matte!’

The referee stays in the combat area, while two line judges sit just outside it to rule on holds and confirm refereeing decisions. Decisions are communicated to the athletes by touch as well, if necessary.

In the event of a tie on points after five minutes, the contest enters a golden score period, when the first score wins. If neither scores during the period, a panel of two judges and referee decides the winner.

Each country is limited to a total of six men and five women, apart from Great Britain as the host nation, which is allowed seven men and six women. No nation may have more than one athlete in each event.

The schedule of events looks like this:

Men’s competition

Men’s -60 kg
Men’s -66 kg
Men’s -73 kg
Men’s -81 kg
Men’s -90 kg
Men’s -100 kg
Men’s +100 kg

Women’s competition

Women’s -48 kg
Women’s -52 kg
Women’s -57 kg
Women’s -63 kg
Women’s -70 kg
Women’s +70 kg

Athletes compete in weight categories.

The competition is run in an elimination format with double repechage. Athletes are divided into two tables (A and B), then further subdivided into groups (A1, A2, B1 and B2). An elimination system determines the winners of tables A and B, who compete in the gold medal contest.

Athletes who are defeated by one of the four eventual group winners during the initial stages enter the repechage of their respective groups. The repechage winner of A1 fights the repechage winner of A2, and the repechage winner of group B1 fights the repechage winner of B2.

The winners of the repechage table finals go on to fight the semi-final losers from the opposite tables for the two bronze medals.

Judo first featured on the Paralympic program at Seoul 1988, with women’s events introduced 16 years later in Athens.


Powerlifting is a bench-press competition – the ultimate test of upper-body strength.

After its introduction to the Paralympic Games at Tokyo in 1964 (when it was billed as Weightlifting), the sport now known as Powerlifting expanded to include athletes with cerebral palsy or spinal injuries, lower-limb amputees and ‘les autres’ (‘the other’ disability groups).

Women made their Powerlifting debut at Sydney 2000.

Athletes compete while lying on a 4m x 4m platform, which is raised no higher than 50cm from the ground.

The athletes must meet minimum eligibility criteria based on their impairment. They are then grouped by bodyweight for competition – which means athletes with different impairments compete for the same medals.

There are 10 different weight categories for men and for women:

Men’s competition

Men’s -48 kg
Men’s -52 kg
Men’s -56 kg
Men’s -60 kg
Men’s -67.50 kg
Men’s -75 kg
Men’s -82.50 kg
Men’s -90 kg
Men’s -100 kg
Men’s +100 kg

Women’s competition

Women’s -40 kg
Women’s -44 kg
Women’s -48 kg
Women’s -52 kg
Women’s -56 kg
Women’s -60 kg
Women’s -67.50 kg
Women’s -75 kg
Women’s -82.50 kg
Women’s +82.50 kg

Each country is limited to a total of 16 athletes (eight men and eight women), with a maximum of one athlete in each event.

Powerlifters must lower the bench-press bar to their chest, hold it motionless, and then press it upwards to arm’s length while keeping their elbows locked. Athletes are given three attempts, and the winner is the athlete who lifts the largest weight (measured in kilograms).

The top three reasons for having a lift disqualified are: not fully extending the arms; not lifting the bar in a single, smooth movement; or not holding the bar motionless on the chest.

As well as not being able to lift the weight required, the judges will penalize illegal or incorrect technique. For instance, it is judged a time-out if the athlete fails to start the lift within the allocated time, an athlete’s head may not lift from the bench, and hands must not be more than 81cm apart.


Appearing at the Paralympic Games for only the second time, the sport of Rowing will be held on the waters at Eton Dorney during London 2012. The lake at Eton Dorney is 2,200m long, with eight lanes. Race distances for the Paralympic Games are 1,000m, with only six lanes used.

Rowing made its Paralympic debut in Beijing 2008 – when Great Britain topped the medal table.

Paralympic Rowing has three categories of classification, indicating the amount of functional ability a rower has:

AS – arms and shoulders
TA – trunk and arms
LTA – legs, trunk and arms

A rower may compete in a higher category, but not a lower one: AS and TA rowers may compete in LTA events, but an LTA athlete may not compete in a TA race.

Adaptive rowing boats are equipped with special seats, which vary according to the disability of the athlete.

The sport itself is commonly referred to as ‘adaptive rowing’, as the equipment is adapted so the athlete can practise the sport (rather than the sport being adapted to the athlete).

Rowing events are head-to-head races.

The races start with two heats; the winning boat from each heat progresses straight to final A.

All events include a repechage – a series of further races to qualify boats for finals, and to rank all boats in order of performance.

The best four boats from the repechage go through to final A, with the others competing in final B (which ranks boats from seven to 12).

Each country is limited to one boat per event (eight athletes in total).

The competition is set out as below:

Men’s competition

Men’s Single Sculls – ASM1x

Women’s competition

Women’s Single Sculls – ASW1x

Mixed competition

Mixed Double Sculls – TAMix2x
Mixed Coxed Four – LTAMix4+

Single sculling boats are equipped with buoyancy devices called pontoons, which act as stabilizers attached to the riggers of the boat, providing additional lateral balance.

Sculling is rowing with two oars, one in each hand.

Sweeping is rowing with one oar.

And I’m sweeping out of here. For now.

See you, for the next edition.