Biathlon was introduced in Innsbruck in 1988 for athletes with a physical impairment, and in 1992, athletes with a visual impairment also became eligible to compete.
The events consist of a 2.0 or 2.5 km course skied three or five times in the free technique for a total race distance between 6-15 km. Between the two stages athletes must hit two targets located at a distance of 10m. Each miss is penalised by an increase in the overall route time. The most important success factor lies in the capability of alternating the skills of physical endurance and shooting accuracy during the competition. Athletes with visual impairment are assisted by acoustic signals, which depending on signal intensity, indicate when the athlete is on target. The sport is governed by the IPC with co-ordination by the IPC Nordic Skiing Technical Committee following the modified rules of the International Biathlon Union (IBU).
Cross country skiing
Cross-country skiing first appeared at the 1976 Winter Paralympic Games in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden. The competition is open to athletes with a physical impairment and blindness/visual impairment. Depending on functional impairment, a competitor may use a sit-ski, a chair equipped with a pair of skis. Athletes with visual impairment compete in the event with a sighted guide. Male and female athletes compete in short distance, middle distance and long distance (ranging from 2.5km to 20km) or participate in a team relay using classical or free techniques. Cross-country skiing is governed by the IPC with co-ordination by the IPC Nordic Skiing Technical Committee following modified rules of the International Ski Federation (FIS) and is practiced by athletes in 24 countries.