Classification is fundamental to all Paralympic sport.
However, it was not until 2003 that the IPC Governing Board approved a classification strategy which recommended the development of a Universal Classification Code.
Following analysis of classification systems it was recognised the need to co-ordinate Paralympic classification under one theoretical model and that classification should be “undertaken to ensure that an athlete’s impairment is relevant to sport performance”.
The Code was adopted by the IPC General Assembly in 2007 and published in November of the same year. Its aims to help support and co-ordinate the development and implementation of accurate, reliable and consistent sport focused classification systems, and detailed policies and procedures common to classification in all sport.
It provides rules and procedures for Paralympic classification that should be common to all sports and how classification systems have to become sport-specific and supported by scientific evidence.
The Code applies to all sports within the Paralympic Movement and provides equitable competition, through classification processes that are robust, transparent and fair.
The implementation of and compliance of the IPC Classification Code is monitored by the IPC Classification Committee.
After six years of working with the Code, the IPC Governing Board initiated proposed amendments to the Code (and International Standards) and a full review was initiated in June 2013. The review encouraged athletes, IPC member organisations, classifiers and officials, and other interested stakeholders to suggest changes to the current Code.
The IPC received more than 750 comments on the Code in total from the first consultation round (June – September 2013).
The first draft of the revised Code and International Standards is currently in circulation for a second consultation round until October 2014.
The final version of the revised Code will be presented by the IPC Governing Board as a motion at the 2015 IPC General Assembly (November 2015), and the new Code will take effect on 1 January 2017.