More than 70 representatives from around the world gathered for the 2022 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) classification meeting where they shared their knowledge on classification practices, learned more about the ongoing Classification Code review and provided feedback on the first draft Code.
The three-day meeting, held between 15 and 17 September, took place in Siegburg, Germany. Participants included 20 representatives from the National Paralympic Committees (NPCs), 52 representatives from the International Federations (IFs), and the IPC’s Classification Committee and Code Review Team members.
Classification Code Review discussions
The primary goal of the meeting was to discuss the ongoing review of the IPC Athlete Classification Code, a fundamental document upon which classification in the Paralympic Movement must be based upon.
Participants were able to learn and give feedback on the key changes in the working draft of the Code that was published earlier this year. The current Classification Code, which came into effect in 2017, has been under review since 2021.
Meeting participants discussed different topics, including the scope of the Code, the classification process from an athlete’s perspective, as well as the relationship between classification and the IPC’s overall vision.
Tea Cisic, IPC’s Head of Classification, said: “As much as this meeting was useful for the participants, the meeting was equally helpful for the IPC and particularly the Code Review team to understand some of the initial feedback from our members in these targeted areas.
“What is important for us is to obtain feedback from different stakeholders for the Code Review team to be able to then reflect and propose what is the best direction for classification in the future.”
The three-year, three-phase Classification Code review will wrap up its second phase in December 2022. IPC members, athletes, Para sports officials and other stakeholders are encouraged to share their feedback on the draft through feedback forms available on the IPC website.
Learning from each other
During the classification meeting, meeting participants also exchanged experiences and knowledge on best practices, including how to organise classification opportunities.
“This meeting is one of the few professional development opportunities for individuals working in the field of classification across our Membership development, a unique opportunity for networking and exchanging practices and experiences,” Cisic said.
“I would like to thank all meeting participants for their active engagement over the three days of meetings. I would also like to thank the Classification Committee and the entire Code Review Team for their contribution and hard work in preparing the first draft Code. We will now continue the dialogue around the Code review as we progress through this consultation phase and will work towards producing a revised draft next year, when we expect to meet with our members again, hopefully in an even bigger number."
A third and final consultation phase of the Classification Code review is scheduled to take place from July to October 2023, prior to the IPC General Assembly voting 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.