Paralympic Classification

Classification provides a structure for Paralympic competition. Classification:

  1. Defines who is eligible to compete in Para sport, and
  2. Groups eligible athletes into sport classes according to their activity limitation

Classification systems are defined and implemented by the respective International Federation for each sport. Sport class criteria and parameters are defined and put in place by each sport's International Federation (IF) with the aim of minimizing the impact of impairment and to ensure that winning is determined by skill, fitness, power, endurance, tactical ability and mental focus, etc., the same factors that account for success in sport for athletes who are able-bodied. Sport-specific sport class profiles and classification information can be found in the classification rules and regulations, which can be found on the IF’s website.

Classification Policies and Procedures

The IPC Athlete Classification Code and International Standards aim to provide a clear statement of the purpose of athlete classification, as well as a framework of policies and procedures that will uphold confidence in classification systems across the Paralympic Movement. The Code and International Standards can be found on the International Paralympic Committee’s Website.

The U.S. Paralympics National Classification Policies and Procedure document below outlines national classification information and systems in compliance with the most current version of the Code. U.S. Paralympics Policies and Procedures encompasses the three core documents of the U.S. Paralympic national classification strategy.

Sport Specific Classification Systems

Classification systems differ by sport and are developed by the International Federations governing the sport. Using the framework of the Code, IFs decide which impairment types their sport will accept. IFs also decide how severe an impairment has to be in order for an athlete to be eligible to compete in their sport.

To learn more about the classification system or how to get classified in a specific sport, visit the National Federation (NGB/HPMO) and International Federation website for that sport. Website information can be found in the table below:

Sport

National Classification Information

International Classification Information

Archery

USA Archery

World Archery

Badminton

USA Badminton

Badminton World Federation

Boccia

USA Boccia

Boccia International Sports Federation

Cycling

U.S. Paralympics Cycling

Union Cycliste International

Equestrian

US Equestrian

Federation Equestre International

Goalball

U.S. Association of Blind Athletes

International Blind Sports Federation

Judo

U.S. Association of Blind Athletes

International Blind Sports Federation

Paracanoe

American Canoe Association

International Canoe Federation

Paratriathlon

USA Triathlon

International Triathlon Union

Powerlifting

Disabled Powerlifting

World Para Powerlifting

Rowing

U.S. Rowing

World Rowing Federation

Shooting

USA Shooting

World Shooting Para Sport

Sitting Volleyball

USA Volleyball

WorldPara Volleyball

Soccer 5-a-side

U.S. Association of Blind Athletes

International Blind Sports Federation

Swimming

U.S. Paralympics Swimming

World Para Swimming

Table Tennis

USA Table Tennis

International Table Tennis Federation

Taekwondo

USA Taekwondo

World Taekwondo

Track and Field

U.S. Paralympics Track & Field

World Para Athletics

Wheelchair Basketball

National Wheelchair Basketball Association

International Wheelchair Basketball Federation

Wheelchair Fencing

USA Fencing

International Wheelchair & Amputee Sports Federation

Wheelchair Rugby

U.S. Quad Rugby Association

International Wheelchair Rugby Federation

Wheelchair Tennis

U.S. Tennis Association

International Tennis Federation