The Australian Paralympic Youth Games (APYG) officially opened in Melbourne on Monday night, but not before more than 130 emerging athletes were provided with national classification in the lead-up to competition.
Consisting of six sports - Athletics, Swimming, Table Tennis, Wheelchair Tennis, Wheelchair Basketball, and Football 7-a-side - the APYG is staged from 5-10 October and requires all competing athletes to be classified.
Delivered by the Australian Paralympic Committee, the APYG classification programme staged at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre ahead of the Opening Ceremony, and saw 23 national classifiers successfully deliver sports specific classification to 132 athletes from Australia and around the world - many classified for the very first time.
APC President Greg Hartung, said the APC’s delivery of the classification programme for these Games was an example of the APC’s continued commitment to classification services.
“For young athletes with a disability, national classification is valuable for their development as further Paralympians. Apart from providing fairer competition, national classification provides aspiring athletes with better access to more regular and competitive Paralympic Sport against athletes around the world,” Mr. Hartung said. “The APC is delighted to be provided classification services at the inaugural Australian Paralympic Youth Games, and I’m happy that the APC’s classification programme continues to prove such a success.
“It’s great that we can provide this level of service to the next generation of Paralympic athletes, but we will continue to work hard to ensure the process for national classification continues to be of the highest quality.”
With athletes with a disability from every Australian state and territory, as well as a strong overseas contingent, competing at the Paralympic Youth Games, APC Classification Manager Genevieve Duff admits her team have been kept busy in recent days. Athletes classified ranged in age from 10 to 20 years old.
“It has been a huge challenge considering the number of athletes who are being classified here in Melbourne, but the Australian Paralympic Committee has a clear strategy in place to ensure that all athletes are well prepared for the classification process,” Duff said.
“Paralympic Sport is very unique and classification is one aspect that sets it apart. But the system is very fair, and only adds to Paralympic Sport as a fantastic spectacle.”
For more information, please visit the official website of the Australian Paralympic Committee at www.paralympic.org.au.