Sport Week: Classification in Para powerlifting

There is only one sport class, but athletes compete in difference weight categories. 21 Jun 2016
2015 IPC Powerlifting European Open Championships

The 2015 IPC Powerlifting European Open Championships took place in Eger, Hungary.

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Powerlifting is the ultimate test of strength in Paralympic sport and can see athletes lift up to three times their bodyweight.

Athletes compete in just one class. Instead powerlifters are categorised into weight categories.

The sport is open to athletes with all eight eligible physical impairments:

Impaired muscle power


Impaired passive range of movement


Limb deficiency


Leg length difference

Short stature

All athletes have an impairment in their lower limbs or hips, which would prohibit them from competing in able-bodied (standing) weightlifting.

In Para powerlifting, they therefore compete in bench press. Athletes with leg amputations above the ankle or stiffness of the knee joint would, for example, be eligible to compete.

Aside from classification, there are some sport-technical rules regarding safety that require the classifiers to also verify, such as a safe grip of the lifting bar and the ability of the athlete to extend the upper limb in full. Failure to do so would lead to exclusion from the sport for safety reasons.

Men compete in the up to 49kg, 54kg, 59kg, 65kg, 72kg, 80kg, 88kg, 97kg, 107kg and over 107kg divisions.

Women compete in the up to 41kg, 45kg, 50kg, 55kg, 61kg, 67kg, 73kg, 79kg, 86kg and over 86kg divisions.

Useful links

IPC Powerlifting’s website

Guide to classification in Paralympic sports

Editor’s note: Each sport on the Rio 2016 Paralympic programme will have a dedicated week of featured content published on Every week a new sport will be featured and the series will run until September’s Games, helping the public understand more about the 22 sports being contested in Rio.


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The IPC’s Global ATR is Jet Set Sports, and Rio 2016 tickets and packages can be purchased on the CoSport website.

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