Classification provides a structure for competition. Athletes competing in Paralympic sports have an impairment that leads to a competitive disadvantage in sport. Consequently, a system has to be put in place to minimise the impact of impairments on sport performance and to ensure the success of an athlete is determined by skill, fitness, power, endurance, tactical ability and mental focus, much like able-bodied sports. This system is called classification.
Classification determines who is eligible to compete in a Paralympic sport and it groups the eligible athletes in sport classes according to their activity limitation in a certain sport.
Impairments types currently covered within snowboard are impaired muscle power, impaired range of motion, limb deficiency, ataxia, leg-length difference, hypertonia and athetosis.
Snowboard currently offers three sport classes, two for athletes with leg impairments and one for athletes with arm impairments.
The sport is under development and with its growth the classification system will be refined gradually.
Sport class SB-LL1:
Athletes classified in the SB-LL1 sport class will have an significant impairment in one leg, for example an above knee amputation, or a significant combined impairment in two legs, for example significant muscle weakness or spasticity in both legs. This will affect their ability to balance, control the board and absorb the terrain. Athletes with amputations will use prosthesis during the races.
Sport class SB-LL2:
Snowboarders in the SB-LL2 sport class will have an impairment in one or two legs with less activity limitation. A typical example is a below knee amputation or mild spasticity.
Sport Class SB-UL:
Snowboarders in the SB-UL class have impairments of the upper limbs, which impacts on the ability to balance when racing down the slopes.