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  World ParaVolley 
Soccer 7-a-side U.S. Soccer International Federation of CP Football 
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