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Last Updated: Sunday, 30 April 2006, 10:47 GMT 11:47 UK
Paralympic World Cup sport guide
Wheelchair basketball at the Paralympic World CupTrack cycling at the Paralympic World CupSwimming at the Paralympic World CupAthletics at the Paralympic World Cup The world's top disabled athletes head to Manchester for seven days of elite action at the Visa Paralympic World Cup, starting 1 May.

After last year's inaugural event, the Paralympic World Cup returns to showcase the best in disability sport.

The four-sport invitational features wheelchair basketball, athletics, swimming and track cycling.

BBC Sport provides an easy-to-understand guide to each of the sports in the spotlight.


Events: Men and women's team
Schedule:
1-4 May
Venue: Manchester Velodrome
Men's teams: Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Sweden
Women's teams: China, Great Britain, Mexico, Spain

Wheelchair basketball

Wheelchair basketball is, without a doubt, one of the most popular and watched events in disability sport.

Teams are made up of five athletes, whose aim is to score in the opponents' basket and prevent the opposing team from scoring but, as the name suggests, players must be in wheelchairs, which has given the sport its own unique style.

All athletes are given a rating of between 0.5 and 4.5 points, based on their mobility and functionality.

The highest rate is given to the player with the least physical limitation and, during the game, the total rate of the players on the court must not exceed 14.5 points.


Events: Sprint, kilo (time trial), pursuit
Schedule:
5 May
Venue: Manchester Velodrome
Categories: Cerebral palsy (CP), visually impaired (B/VI), locomotor deficiencies (LC)

Track cycling

Track racing is very much speed and exhilaration at its purest as the bikes have no brakes and are controlled by a "fixed" wheel system, which means riders cannot freewheel.

Athletes compete on tandem bikes - which are usually crewed by an able-bodied "pilot" and a visually impaired "stoker" - or solo bikes in three disciplines: Sprint, kilo and pursuit.

The sprint is a head-to-head race between pairs of riders - or tandems - over three laps, while the kilo is simply a time trial from a standing start over 1000m - four laps of a 250m track.

The pursuit is ridden over 2,000, 3,000 or 4,000m with riders - usually in pairs - attempting to catch their opponents which start from the opposite side.

Athletes with partial or total vision impairment, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, amputees or any other disabilities can participate.


Events: Individual medley, butterfly, backstroke, freestyle, breaststroke
Schedule:
6 May
Venue: Manchester Aquatics Centre
Categories: Physical disabilities (1-10), visually impaired (11-13), multi-disability events (MD)

Swimming

Highly competitive and a thrilling spectacle, swimming has been a Paralympic event since 1960.

Manchester 2006 sees swimmers go head-to-head in five different disciplines: Individual medley, butterfly, backstroke, freestyle and breaststroke.

Swimming is divided into 13 categories, ranging from severe (S1, SB1, SM1) to minimal physical disability (S10, SB9, SM10), while visually-impaired athletes race in classes 11-13.

The classes starting with an S are for freestyle, backstroke and butterfly, the classes SB are for breaststroke and the classes SM for individual medley.

So, for example an SM10 classification means the race for swimmers with minimal physical disabilities in the individual medley.

There were also multi-disability races, where the best athletes from any category compete in the same race but the winner is not necessarily the first to finish.

Victory is decided by who comes closest to or improves most on their disability category's world record.


Events: 25 selected disciplines
Schedule:
7 May
Venue: Manchester Regional Arena
Categories: Visually impaired, cerebral palsy, amputees and les autres, wheelchair, dwarfism

Athletics

The blue riband event of disability sport, athletics provided a showcase of the top talents in sprinting, distance running, throwing and jumping events.

Some compete in wheelchairs, others with prostheses (artificial limbs), and visually impaired and blind athletes compete with the help of a guide.

Athletes with cerebral palsy are classified in categories 32 to 38, with 32-34 covering athletes competing in a wheelchair, and 35-38 in an upright standing position.

Wheelchair competitors with spinal cord injuries or other physical disabilities, except for cerebral palsy, are classified according to their mobility in classes 51 to 54 for track events and 51 to 58 for throwing events.

Athletes with vision impairment and blind athletes are classified as 11, 12 and 13, while amputees and other athletes competing in a standing position, are classified from 42 to 46.

Participants with dwarfism take part in only throwing events, in class 40.




SEE ALSO
Paralympic World Cup schedule
30 Apr 06 |  Disability Sport
GB women eye Mexico as top threat
29 Apr 06 |  Disability Sport
Petitclerc pulls out of World Cup
25 Apr 06 |  Disability Sport
Injured Shirley to miss World Cup
06 Apr 06 |  Disability Sport
Paralympians begin Cup countdown
27 Apr 06 |  Disability Sport


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