In an effort to improve consistency and decision-making, 20 classifiers across the world came together to relearn, retrain and be re-inspired at the International Vision Impairment Classifier Re-Certification Seminar in Bonn, Germany.
Hosted by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA), the three-day seminar in July covered various topics relating to vision impaired (VI) classification.
Classifiers – mostly medical professionals who assess athletes to group them in the proper category of which they compete– reviewed VI classification under the IPC Classification Code and International Standards, as well as medical diagnostic information requirements.
Dr. Gertrud K. Esche was among the classifiers who attended: “Can we imagine sport without competitiveness? Can we imagine competitiveness without equality of conditions? Can we imagine equality of conditions without classification?”
“During these three days we reviewed all the IPC rules and regulations, had lively, interesting and constructive discussions about assessment methodologies and other hot topics.
“The progress in both the organisation and the content of the course reflects the progress that Paralympic sport has had in the last year, and which seems to continue on a development curve in the coming years.
“Sharing field experiences with research groups and experts undoubtedly raises the technical and professional level of the group of vision impairment classifiers. After three continuous days of work, we are very grateful and pleased with the results as well as with the IPC group for their organisation and hospitality in Bonn.”
David Mann and Rianne Ravensbergen, from the VI Research & Development Centre at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, spent a day reviewing the athlete assessment process.
With Para sports such as shooting introducing VI disciplines, classifiers were trained on how to assess and categorise athletes with a vision impairment.
The participants who were recertified came from 19 countries: Australia, Austria, Bermuda, Chinese Taipei, Croatia, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Iran, Ireland, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey and Zimbabwe.