First published in November 2007, the IPC Classification Code helps support and co-ordinate the development and implementation of accurate, reliable and consistent sport focused classification systems, and to detail policies and procedures common to classification in all sport.
It is hoped this will contribute to sporting excellence for all athletes and sports in the Paralympic Movement, providing equitable competition, through classification processes that are robust, transparent and fair.
In 2003, the Paralympic Movement conducted an analysis of classification systems and recognized the need to coordinate Paralympic classification under one theoretical model. The outcome of this process is the IPC Classification Code. Crucial for the future of Paralympic Sport is that classification “is undertaken to ensure that an athlete’s impairment is relevant to sport performance” (article 2.1.1).
The Code is complemented by International Standards that provide the technical and operational requirements for classification. Adherence to the International Standards is mandatory for compliance with the Code. There are three International Standards:
- Athlete Evaluation – procedures for the assessment of athletes and the allocation of sport class and sport class status
- Protests and Appeals – procedures for the management of classification related protests and appeals
- Classifier Training and Certification – management of classifier training and certification
The Code applies to all sports within the Paralympic Movement. The implementation of and compliance with the IPC Classification Code is monitored by the IPC Classification Committee.
Sport-Specific Evidence-Based Classification
The IPC Classification Code requires all classification systems:
1. to identify eligible impairments for that particular sport
2. to describe methods for assessment of athletes so that the impact of the impairment on the activity is proven. Such methods must be based on ‘evidence’.
The IPC has adopted the research paper on “IPC Position Stand – Background and Scientific Rationale for Classification in Paralympic Sport” from Tweedy & Vanlandewijck (British Journal of Sports Medicine, 2011, 45, 259-269) as the standard reference for evidence-based classification. The implementation of sport-specific classification systems must match the principles explained in this publication.