“Classification affects all athletes and is heavily discussed within the athlete community. As the Paralympic Movement continues to evolve, it is imperative that every International Federation takes a closer look at their current classification model to ensure that it is appropriately servicing their current and future athletes."
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced the seven members that have successfully received funding to support research to further develop their classification systems.
There were 14 applications and the seven selected are: Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association (CPISRA), International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA), International Federation for CP Football (IFCPF), International Sports Federation for Persons with Intellectual Disability (INAS), International Wheelchair Rugby Federation (IWRF), World Para Athletics (WPA) and World Para Alpine Skiing (WPAS).
Applications were reviewed by external scientific experts, and a Selection Committee made the final decision.
Peter Van De Vliet, IPC Medical & Scientific Director, said: “I would like to thank all applicants for their submission. It is great to see how an increasing number of IFs and sports turn their attention to a scientific approach of critically reviewing and further developing their classification system.
“Almost all applications made reference to the concepts of classification research currently adopted by the IPC, and I would like to thank the IPC Classification Research & Development Centres in assisting the IPC in promoting these concepts across the Movement.
“In the end, it was a difficult final selection under the available resources of the Grant Scheme, and the IPC is committed to further support this programme in the next years.”
Chelsey Gotell, IPC Athletes’ Council Chairperson, said: “Classification affects all athletes and is heavily discussed within the athlete community. As the Paralympic Movement continues to evolve, it is imperative that every International Federation takes a closer look at their current classification model to ensure that it is appropriately servicing their current and future athletes.
“As each International Federation embarks on critically reviewing their classification process, I urge them to engage their Athletes’ Councils and Athlete Representatives - or the IPC Athletes’ Council if they do not have a current athlete representative model in place - in the process, to ensure that the athlete voice is constructively and effectively incorporated into the future of the sport.”
The IPC’s Research Grant Scheme was launched last June, in which International Federations (IFs), International Organisations of Sports for the Disabled (IOSDs) and Recognised International Federations could apply to receive support for the development of sport-specific, evidence-based classification systems as defined in the 2015 IPC Athlete Classification Code. The maximum grant per individual project is EUR 20,000; and projects must be finalised within a two-year process. The federations must furthermore co-finance the project.
Approved projects: International Federation, title, principal research partner
• CPISRA, RaceRunning Classification: Expert opinion and development of ratio-scaled classification tests (University of Edinburgh, Great Britain)
• IBSA, Sport-specific Classification for IBSA football 5-a-side: Setting the minimum impairment criteria (Newcastle University, Great Britain)
• IFCPF, Relationships of impairment and technical assessment with performance in competition (Miguel Hernández University, Elche, Spain)
• INAS, Cognitive determinants across endurance sports – The role of PACING in performance (Leuven University, Belgium)
• IWRF, Determining the impact of arm impairment on performance in wheelchair rugby players (Loughborough University, Great Britain)
• World Para Athletics, Classification of runners with hypertonia, ataxia or athetosis – improving the current system and evaluation of new methods (University of Queensland, Australia)
• World Para Alpine Skiing, Investigation of the Minimum Impairment Criteria and use of Blindfolds in VI Para Alpine Skiing and VI Para Nordic Skiing (University of Waterloo, Canada)