The 5000m race does not start in lanes, but behind an arc that ensures that every athlete is the same distance from the finish. On starting, athletes may move towards the inside lane straight away.
The number of heats and rounds depends on the number of athletes competing, but there will not be more than three rounds – heat, semi-final, final – in any event.
The draw to determine which heat an athlete will run in is decided by their initial seedings (based on previous performance) for the first round, and then both their performances after that as well as in the qualifying period are taken into account, ensuring that the highest seeded athletes are not allocated the same heat.
Keys to success
Long distance athletes need immense stamina and mental strength. Races are incredibly tactical, with pace and positioning of vital importance. Despite the length, sprint finishes are common and a winning athlete in the 5000m, having already covered 11 to 12 laps of the track, must have enough strength to race the final part at full speed.
Breaking the rules
Race judges will be paying keen attention to any jostling or obstruction as athletes are fighting to get a good position, particularly at the beginning and in the last stages of the race. Wheelchair athletes will also be penalised for overtaking incorrectly.
For more information, please go to the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) website.
Read more about classifications in Paralympic Athletics