About

Classifications

The World Para Athletics classification system serves two key purposes:

1. Determining Eligibility: the system defines who is eligible to compete in World Para Athletics competitions;

2. Sport Class Allocation: system describes methods for dividing eligible athletes up into sport classes. The aim is that each class should consist of athletes who have impairments that cause approximately the same amount of activity limitation in the key athletic disciplines – running, jumps, throws and wheelchair-racing.

DETERMINING ELIGIBILITY

To be eligible for para-athletics, a person must have an eligible impairment type and the impairment must be judged to be severe enough to have an impact on the sport of athletics. Minimum Disability Criteria (MDC) are described in the World Para Athletics Classification Rules and Regulations.

There are 10 eligible impairment types: eight physical impairments as well as visual impairment and intellectual impairment:

1. Impaired muscle power

The muscles in the limbs or trunk are completely or partially paralysed because of conditions such as spinal cord injury, polio or spina bifida.

2. Impaired passive range of movement

Range of movement in one or more joints is permanently reduced due to trauma, illness or congenital deficiency (e.g. conditions such as arthrogryposis or joint contracture resulting from trauma).

3. Limb deficiency

A total or partial absence of bones or joints, from birth, because of trauma (e.g. traumatic amputation) or illness (e.g. amputation due to cancer).

4. Ataxia

Lack of muscle coordination due to problems with the parts of the central nervous system that control movement and balance, typical of conditions such as traumatic brain injury and cerebral palsy.

5. Athetosis

Repetitive and continual (more or less) involuntary movements caused by fluctuating muscle tone arising from problems in the central nervous system, typical of conditions such as cerebral palsy.

6. Hypertonia

An abnormal increase in muscle tension with reduced ability of muscles to stretch, and joint stiffness, slowness of movement and poor postural adaptation and balance, due to problems in the central nervous system, typical of conditions such as cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury and stroke.

7. Short stature

Standing height and limb length are reduced due to conditions such as achondroplasia and osteogenesis imperfecta.

8. Leg length difference

Minimum of 7cm leg length difference due to trauma, illness or congenital conditions.

9. Visual impairment

Vision is impacted by either an impairment of the eye structure, optical nerve/pathways or the part of the brain controlling vision (visual cortex).

10. Intellectual impairment

Limited intellectual functions and adaptive behaviour which must be diagnosed before the age of 18.

SPORT CLASS ALLOCATION

The aim of classification in Para athletics is to minimise the impact of eligible impairments on the outcome of the competition. To do this, athletes are assessed and then placed into competition categories, called sport classes, according to how much their impairment affects sports performance.

In general athletes with impairments that have a similar impact on sports performance will compete in the same sports class. The system ensures that athletes do not succeed simply because they have an impairment that causes less of a disadvantage than their competitors, but because of their skill, determination, tactics, fitness and preparation.

The following presents the overall structure of Para-athletics classification. The numerical figure represents the level of impairment; the lower the number within each impairment type, the more severe the impairment:

Track and jumps (prefix T for Track)

Discipline: Running and jumping (20 classes)

Sport classes (Impairment types):

T11-13 (Vision impairment)

T20 (Intellectual impairment)

T35-38 (Coordination impairments – hypertonia, ataxia and athetosis)

T40-41 (Short stature)

T42-44 (Lower limb competing without prosthesis affected by limb deficiency, leg length difference, impaired muscle power or impaired passive range of movement)

T45-47 (Upper limb/s affected by limb deficiency, impaired muscle power or impaired passive range of movement)

T61-64 (Lower limb/s competing with prosthesis affected by limb deficiency and leg length difference)

Discipline: Wheelchair racing (7 classes)

T32-34 (Coordination impairments – hypertonia, ataxia and athetosis)

T51-54 (Limb deficiency, leg length difference, impaired muscle power or impaired passive range of movement)

 

Throws (prefix F for Field)

Discipline: Standing throws (19 classes)

Sport classes (Impairment types):

F11-13 (Vision impairment)

F20 (Intellectual impairment)

F35-38 (Coordination impairments – hypertonia, ataxia and athetosis)

F40-41 (Short stature)

F42-44 (Lower limb competing without prosthesis affected by limb deficiency, leg length difference, impaired muscle power or impaired passive range of movement)

F45-46 (Upper limb/s affected by limb deficiency, impaired muscle power or impaired passive range of movement)

F61-64 (Lower limb/s competing with prosthesis affected by limb deficiency and leg length difference)

Discipline: Seated throws (11 classes)

F31-34 (Coordination impairments – hypertonia, ataxia and athetosis)

F51-57 (Limb deficiency, leg length difference, impaired muscle power or impaired range of movement)

(source: paralympic.org)
For more information and details on the classification, please visit World Para Athletics Classification & Categories

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