"It will provide an unprecedented and very exciting opportunity for this group of athletes with severe impairment. We look forward immensely to RaceRunning athletes competing in Berlin and beyond.”
World Para Athletics announced on Wednesday, 25 October, the inclusion of RaceRunning events for athletes with severe co-ordination impairments in competitions from 2018.
A selective RaceRunning programme will be included at the Berlin 2018 World Para Athletics European Championships, scheduled to take place from 20-26 August.
Currently governed by the Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association (CPISRA), RaceRunning was first introduced over 25 years ago in Denmark for athletes with high support needs. Competitors use a three-wheeled frame to provide support as they race around the track.
World Para Athletics and CPISRA have been in discussions over recent years about increasing the participation of athletes with more severe co-ordination impairment. The basis of the current proposal is to recognise RaceRunning as an athletics track discipline and a replacement for the current T31 and T32 classes.
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Summer Sports Director Ryan Montgomery said: “This announcement is part of the IPC and World Para Athletics commitment to developing Para athletics opportunities for athletes with high support needs. It enhances diversity and inclusion in line with the objectives of the Paralympic Movement. We would like to thank CPISRA for its support.
“Over the course of the last years, the current T31 and T32 classes have had no representation or participation in Para athletics. Integrating RaceRunning to the programme of the 2018 Berlin European Championships is an important first move for its further development.”
CPISRA President Peter Drysdale said: “RaceRunning athletes and CPISRA are thrilled with the introduction of RaceRunning to the World Para Athletics programme. It will provide an unprecedented and very exciting opportunity for this group of athletes with severe impairment. We look forward immensely to RaceRunning athletes competing in Berlin and beyond.”
Development of the sport
The growth and development of RaceRunning in recent years, through the partnership between CPISRA and Parasports Denmark, has seen participation grow substantially. The 2017 CPISRA World Championships in July in Copenhagen, Denmark, had 100 athletes from 13 countries taking part and 20 world records broken. Over 50 per cent of the participating athletes were female.
Details on events and qualification standards for the Berlin 2018 World Para Athletics European Championships will be released shortly. National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) will be able to license RaceRunning athletes with World Para Athletics from 1 January 2018 onwards.
After Berlin, further activities will be adopted through to 2021 for the development of RaceRunning. This will include a programme of (regional) RaceRunning workshops and events. World Para Athletics will work in consultation with NPCs and National Athletics Associations, in continuous partnership with CPISRA.
Beyond 2021 the progression of these events and classes will be dependent on similar scrutiny to that of other events and classes currently recognised by World Para Athletics.