Table_1_Age-Related Changes in Para and Wheelchair Racing Athlete’s Performances.xlsx

During the last decades, all para-athletes with disabilities have significantly increased their performance level due to technological progress and human investment, through better training or recovery protocols, medical care and nutritional monitoring. Among these elements, the athlete’s age is one of the determining factors in performance. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of age on maximal performances for para-athletes and wheelchair racing athletes, scaled on able-bodied records. We collected 53,554 results including athlete’s best performance of the year, event, age and disability classification from the International Paralympic Committee competitions between 2009 and 2017 for both female and male para-athletics and wheelchair racing disciplines for a total of 472 sport events in Track and Field (considering each impairment type for each event) and gathered the all-time able-bodied records from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) at the end of 2017. Maximal performance by age was fitted with the Moore function for each para-athletics and wheelchair racing event. This study finds a similar age-related pattern in maximal performance among para-athletes and wheelchair racing athletes. The age at peak performance varies according to sex, impairment type and event and increases gradually from sprint to endurance events. The best Top 100 performances include a large age range suggesting that performance has probably not been optimized yet for most elite para-athletes and wheelchair racers. The next Paralympic Games of Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024 will certainly offer exceptional performance.