IPC Code Review Team meets in Bonn to discuss feedback on Classification Code draft

The Code Review Team met between 11 and 13 February to analyse feedback received on the first draft of the IPC Classification Code published in July 2022 16 Feb 2023
19 people pose for a photograph in front of a screen that says "Welcome to Bonn"
The International Paralympic Committee has been conducting a three-year, three-phase review process of the current IPC Classification Code, which was published in 2015.

The International Paralympic Committee’s Code Review Team met in Bonn, Germany, to discuss feedback it received on the draft of the IPC Classification Code, released following a five-month long consultation period in 2022 as part of the Code review process. 

Over the past months, the IPC engaged with its members and wider stakeholders, including athletes and classifiers, to gather input on targeted topics related to classification as part of the second consultation round of the Code review process. 

During the three-day meeting in Bonn, the team, chaired by former Para swimmer Scott Field, analysed the feedback to improve and strengthen the new Code and work toward preparing a new draft, which is expected to be released in July 2023. 

Discussing feedback

The IPC has been conducting an extensive three-year, three-phase open consultation process of the current Classification Code, which was published in 2015.  

During the second consultation phase that took place between 1 August and 15 December 2022, the IPC conducted an open survey and over 20 calls with its members, athletes, classifiers and other stakeholders, to address their views on the key changes introduced in the draft Code. 

In-person meetings also took place during the 2022 IPC Membership Gathering, the 2022 IPC Annual Classification Meeting with International Federations and National Paralympic Committees, and the IPC Athletes’ Council meeting in September 2022.

Field, who represented South Africa at two Paralympic Games, said the team absorbed “fantastic feedback” during the meeting.

“We are very pleased with the status of the draft, which we will continue to work on before publishing it for the third and final round of feedback in July,” he said. “We made significant progress in the revision of a number of important areas in the draft Code and look forward to getting feedback once it goes out for comment. 

“A reminder that this revised version of the Code will be developed by members of the Paralympic Movement by relying on input received from members of the Movement. We encourage further engagement, from athletes in particular, once this draft goes out for comment this year.

“I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank everyone who engaged with the IPC and the Code Review Team as part of the past two consultation rounds. Your feedback helped us tremendously in shaping the future Classification Code.” 

Cornerstone of the Paralympic Movement

Classification is the cornerstone of the Paralympic Movement. It determines which athletes are eligible to compete in a sport and how athletes are grouped together for competition.

German wheelchair rugby player Jens Sauerbier, who attended the meeting in Bonn as one of the athlete representatives on the Code Drafting Team, said: “The dedication and commitment of all people involved and the level of detail within the conversations were enormous. I love the fact that experts from so many different sports came together to give inside views of their sports to create a Classification Code that is inspired by the whole Paralympic Movement.

“The difficulty of the next consultation phase and the implementation of the new Classification Code will be to transport this feeling of dedication into the heads of the athletes and members to let them trust in classification and the evolution of the Code.

“I’m very confident that the IPC will achieve this goal. As an athlete I’m glad to be part of this important process.” 

Next steps

Following the release of the second draft of the Code, a third and final consultation round is scheduled to take place from July to October 2023. The IPC General Assembly is expected to vote on the new Code and International Standards in 2024.

It is anticipated that the new IPC Classification Code will be published in 2024 and put into force in January 2025 for summer sports and in July 2026 for winter sports. 

Click here for more information on the Classification Code review.