Explaining the Paralympics: Table Tennis
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There are men’s and women’s singles and team events. The table size, bats, and balls used are the same as those for the Olympic Games, as are the basic rules. Special rules apply regarding the ball toss and serve in some classes. Matches are played to the best of five sets, with 11 points needed to win a set.
Events are divided broadly into physical and intellectual impairment. Physical impairment classes are divided into wheelchair (1–5) and standing (6–10) athletes: the greater the impact of the impairment on an athlete’s ability to compete, the lower the number. Class 11 is for athletes with intellectual impairments. Players with a higher wheelchair seat are at an advantage, so there is a 15-centimeter height limit on cushions.
Athletes employ various playing styles adapted to their impairment, such as using a cane or holding the racket in their mouth.
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