Future of Paralympic Classification Discussed in Bonn

Representatives from a total of 21 different Paralympic sports attended last week’s Classification meeting in Bonn, Germany. 22 Feb 2010 By IPC

Taking place from 19-20 February, the representatives were presented with the IPC Position Statement on Paralympic Classification. The statement is a translation of the definition on ‘sport-specific evidence-based’ classification as defined in the IPC Classification Code. IPC Classification Committee Member Dr. Sean Tweedy gave an overview of the concepts on evidence-based classification, while IPC Sports Science Committee Chairperson Prof. Yves Vanlandewijck and IPC Medical & Scientific Director Dr. Peter Van de Vliet presented examples on implementing this model into different sports.

The International Paralympic Sports Federations (IPSF) had been invited to conduct self-audits on their respective compliance with the IPC Classification Code prior to the meeting. The IPC Classification Committee, who met in the days preceding the IPSF Classification meeting, provided a synthesis of all feedback received.

The participants held a working session to assess the status of Code Compliance and identify the challenges in each sport. All parties were able to thus understand the IPC Classification Code better. In addition to the 21 representatives, participants from seven sports with an intention of interest in becoming IPC Members or plans to become Paralympic sports in the future were in attendance.

With the deadline for implementation of the Classification Code set at 12 March, the participants were also informed that the IPC will now initiate the formal Code Compliance audit process.

Dr. Peter Van de Vliet said that the meeting was a great opportunity to participate in the major classification forum of the Paralympic Movement, and a chance to learn from each other’s experiences and challenges. “I think all sports now have a clear indication on how to achieve Code Compliance,” he said. “With the Code implementation deadline next month, it was a critical time to bring all Paralympic sports around the table and give them guidance to better understand the IPC Classification Code and have a critical look at their actual classification systems.”

Participants were also informed on the classification policies and regulations that will apply for the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Following the IPC Governing Board’s decision to de-emphasize classification at the Paralympic Games, the participants were invited to strengthen their pre-Games classification efforts. Representatives from the IPC Sports met also to exchange experiences on the process of classification rules review which was recently initiated. They were also introduced to the IPC Academy Classifier Training programme.