Alpine and Nordic skiing experts have met in Bad Honnef, Germany, to discuss the ongoing development of the sports’ classification systems. Twenty-five Para athletes, coaches, classifiers and researchers took part in two meetings – one for each sport - which were funded by the German Federal Ministry of the Interior.
World Para Alpine Skiing and World Para Nordic Skiing’s overall aim is to have a fair and transparent classification system in place for the sport that matches with the requirements of the 2015 IPC Athlete Classification Code.
World Para Nordic Skiing Athlete Representative Mark Arendz of Canada said: “At these meetings, I am trying to get a grasp of the different issues from the athlete’s side, and make an observation of issues that are currently a problem or could potentially pose a problem in the future.
“It is good to have that knowledge to work towards a more productive classification system and to solve some of the issues we see.”
Also on the agenda were ways to professionalise the sport and facilitate the access of people with impairments, thus potentially increasing the number of athletes and classes in both sports.
All participants contributed with their own expertise, exchanging knowledge and making suggestions to revise the current processes and procedures.
World Para Alpine Skiing Athlete Representative Mitchell Gourley said: “I think it is really important to have these meetings. There are two important things: we want to iron out some of the kinks for the athletes who are competing and setting the agenda for the future of classification in the sport.”
The final outcomes from the meetings will now be integrated into the sports’ long-term strategic plan, with further research to be carried out during the 2017/18 season.