Sport Week: Classification in rowing

Rowers are allocated to three sport classes and compete across four different events. 26 Jul 2016
Woman in rowing boat celebrating

Great Britain's Rachel Morris wins silver in the women's single sculls at the 2015 World Rowing Championships

ⒸFISA Igor Meijer

In Para rowing, athletes are assigned to three different sport classes.


Athletes in sport class AS primarily use their arms and shoulders to accelerate the boat. These athletes have minimal or no leg and trunk function, which can be caused by spinal cord injuries for example.


The sport class TA comprises athletes who can use their arms and trunk when rowing, but are not able to utilise the sliding seat when performing the strokes. These athletes typically have good trunk and arm function. For example, athletes with a double around the knee amputation would fit this sport class profile.


This sport class includes athletes with a physical impairment who can use their legs, trunk and arms to accelerate the boat and can use the sliding seat. Athletes who miss three fingers on one hand or have a foot amputation might be eligible to compete in this sport class.


Rowers in this sport class have varying degrees of visual impairment ranging from the B1-B3 sport class:

B1 - Athletes have a very low visual acuity and/ or no light perception.

B2 - Athletes have a higher visual acuity than athletes competing in the B1 sport class and/ or a visual field of less than five degrees radius.

B3 - Athletes have the least severe visual impairment eligible. They have the highest visual acuity and/or a visual field of less than 20 degrees radius.


There are four different events in Para rowing:

LTA Mixed coxed four

Two male and two female rowers from the sport classes LTA-PD and LTA-VI form a team. Due to their physical strength, only two rowers in the team may have a visual impairment and no more than one may have the sport class LTA-VI B3. All athletes with a visual impairment are blindfolded during training and competition.

TA Mixed double sculls

One female and one male rower of sport class TA form a team.

AS women’s single sculls and AS men’s single sculls

In sport class AS there are separate events for men and women and the athletes compete in single boats.

Eligible impairments:

Impaired muscle power


Impaired passive range of movement


Limb deficiency


Visual impairment

Helpful links:

IPC classification webpage

FISA classification

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