Parapan Table Tennis

Table Tennis - Parapan Am

Table Tennis - Parapan Am

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Sport Overview

Table tennis is open to athletes with physical impairments, competing in either standing or sitting classifications. In this blend of speed, skill and power, athletes must hit the ball over the net, into their opponent’s side.

Brazil dominated the sport at the Guadalajara 2011 Parapan Am Games with 12 gold medals. Mexico finished second with three gold and Argentina with two gold.


In its early days, table tennis was played as an after-dinner parlour game in upper-class Britain during the 1880s, where a row of books in the centre of the table served as a net, a book served as a racquet and a golf ball was hit back and forth. In 1901, the discovery of celluloid balls and, in the 1950s, racquets made from a rubber sheet combined with a sponge layer changed the game dramatically.

Para-table tennis has been on the Paralympic program since the first Games in 1960.

How it works

Athletes must hit the ball over the net, into their opponent’s side such that he/she is unable to return the hit successfully. Points are awarded on the serve. Matches are won by the best of 3, 4 or 5 sets. Each set is scored to 11 and the player must win by two points.


The flat part of the racquet used for hitting the ball.

A shot aimed downward that causes the ball to backspin.

Drop shot
A return shot that falls just over the opponent’s side of the net.

An attacking shot that places a topspin on the ball.

A popular method of gripping the racquet that resembles holding a pen.



Physical Impairment
Intellectual impairment

Sport Classes

Table tennis players with physical impairments compete in sport classes 1–10 and those with an intellectual impairment compete in sport class 11.

Athletes in sport classes 1–5 compete in a wheelchair while those in sport classes 6–10 compete in a standing position.

Sitting Classes:

1: Athletes have no sitting balance and a severely affected playing arm.

2: Players in this sport class also have no sitting balance, but their playing arm is less affected than athletes in sport class 1.

3: While class 3 players have no trunk control, their arms and hands are either not or are minimally affected by the impairment.

4: Athletes have fair sitting balance and fully functional arms and hands.

5: Athletes compete in a wheelchair, like athletes in class 1–4, but have normal sitting balance, arm and hand function.

Standing Classes:

6: Athletes have severe impairments in both arms and legs. Some players handle the racquet with their mouth.

7: Athletes either have very severe impairments of their legs or playing arm, or impairments affecting arms and legs less severe than those in sport class 6.

8: Athletes with moderate impairment of their legs or moderately affected playing arm, such as stiffness of both knees or a below elbow amputation of the playing arm.

9: Players have mild impairments affecting the legs or the playing arm. Some show severe impairments of the non-playing arm, such as an amputation above the elbow. Athletes with a stiff knee or a restricted range of motion in a joint of the playing arm may also compete in this sport class.

10: Players have minimal impairments that may include a stiff ankle or wrist of the playing arm. Players with short stature may also play in this class.

11: Athletes with intellectual impairment who also meet sport-specific criteria for table tennis.

Additional Information

Additional Information