U.S. Paralympics News Five Sports At The 2...

Five Sports At The 2019 Parapan American Games With Tokyo 2020 Implications

By Melissa Zhang | Aug. 08, 2019, 11:28 a.m. (ET)

With the 2019 Parapan American Games fast approaching, athletes from several sports may have larger implications for their competitions, as these performances will determine whether or not they qualify for the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. A number of American athletes have already punched their tickets to Tokyo, including women's goalball who accomplished the feat this July at the 2019 IBSA Goalball & Judo International Qualifier in Fort Wayne, Indiana. For others, however, Lima 2019 marks one of their biggest opportunities to do so. Take a look below to see which five sports will be vying for spots at the Paralympic Games: 

Goalball (men's) - must win to qualify
John Kusku throws a ball alongside Tyler Merrin during goalball competition at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016.
The U.S. men's goalball team finished fifth overall at its most recent competition, the 2019 IBSA Goalball and Judo International Qualifier in Fort Wayne, Indiana. They'll need to win or get second place, only to Brazil (who has already qualified for Tokyo), at the Parapans in order to make an appearance at next year's Paralympics. Four returning members from the silver-medal winning team from the Paralympic Games Rio 2016 will be headlining Team USA: Tyler Merren (Coral Springs, Florida), Daryl Walker (Jacksonville, Florida), John Kusku (Commerce Township, Michigan) and Matt Simpson (Smyrna, Georgia). 


Wheelchair basketball (men's) - must earn a top-three finish to qualify
Wheelchair basketball (women's) - must earn a top-two finish to qualify
Both wheelchair basketball teams from the United States won gold at the Parapan American Games Toronto 2015, so they'll be one of the top contenders in their sport and will look to defend their titles. In order to punch their tickets to Tokyo, the men and women will both need a podium finish in Lima. 


Wheelchair tennis (singles) - can earn individual slots to qualifyDana Mathewson of Team USA competing in wheelchair tennis.
The six Americans competing in wheelchair tennis will have the opportunity to earn individual slots for Tokyo, depending on their performances. Casey Ratzlaff (Wichita, Kansas), Chris Herman (Gulfport, Florida), Dana Mathewson (San Diego, California), Emmy Kaiser (Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky), David Wagner (Portland, Oregon) and Bryan Barten (Hart, Michigan) will be on the courts for the United States.


Sitting volleyball (men's) - must win to qualify

The U.S. men won silver at the 2015 Parapan American Games, which resulted in a berth to the 2016 Paralympic Games. They will hope to qualify for 2020 as well by capturing the 2019 Parapan American Games title, and are currently ranked No. 8 in the world. If the men do not qualify for Tokyo in Lima, they will have another opportunity later on in the year.


Wheelchair rugby - must win to qualify

After earning silver at the Four Nations Invitational in Birmingham, Alabama, the men of USA Wheelchair Rugby will head into Lima seeking the top spot on the podium that will provide a berth to next year's Paralympic Games. As of this May, the United States holds the No. 2 spot in the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation's rankings list. If the men do not qualify for Tokyo in Lima, they will have another opportunity later on in the year.