Everything You Need to Know about Para Archery Classification

June 12, 2018, 12:11 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado – Classification provides a structure for para competition. The classification system is designed to group athletes according to their impairment to create a level playing field. It determines who is eligible to participate in para archery and it creates competition classes. Classifiers go through extensive training and are certified by World Archery to carefully determine whether athletes qualify for para competition.

Classification can be either national or international. National classification can be done by one classifier and can be used for national competitions. International classification is required for participation in international para archery events and a panel of two classifiers evaluates each archer.

International classification takes place at most international para archery events; in the U.S., it will be offered September 6th before the Para World Ranking Event in Salt Lake City. National Classification will also be offered at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Orlando, Florida on July 29-31.

To be classified, athletes must submit the World Archery Classification Request Form and have the Medical Form completed by a doctor within three months of the classification. For national classification, the Medical Form must be submitted to National Para Head Coach Randi Smith at rsmith@usarchery.org along with a headshot at least two weeks before the classification. For international classification, the forms must be submitted at least two weeks before the registration deadline.

Once the requisite forms and photo are submitted, they are sent to the classifiers to be verified for completeness and eligibility. If the athlete has an impairment that is not eligible (i.e. arthritis), the athlete will be notified so they can choose whether to attend the classification.

Before the event, athletes will be notified of the classification schedule. When they arrive for their classification appointment, they take all their assistive equipment with them (wheelchairs, stools, releases, braces, etc.). The classifiers will test the archer for range of movement, flexibility, strength, and balance. Upon completion, the classifiers will present their decision and the athlete and coach will be given copies of the classification forms.

Athletes can be classified as Not Eligible (NE), Standing (ST), or Wheelchair 1 or 2 (W1 or W2).

  • NE - not eligible, but may be approved for adapted equipment or assistive aids
  • ST - standing - has a disability that can affect either the upper body or lower body, but they stand or sit on a stool or chair to shoot (feet are on the ground)
  • W2 - wheelchair 2 - shoot from a wheelchair with their feet on the footrests (which cannot touch the ground)
  • W1 - wheelchair 1 - shoot from a wheelchair, but have more severe impairments than W2. To be classified as W1, an archer must have impairments in at least 3 limbs and the core.

Shooting categories are different than the classification groups. There are two shooting classes - Open and W1. Within Open, there are separate divisions for recurve and compound, and men and women. In W1, recurve and compound archers are combined, and in some competitions the men and women are also combined. Once an athlete is classified, to compete in a sanctioned event, they must also have USA Archery membership, available here.

To access the Medical Intake Form and Classification Request Form, click here.

To register for the 2018 Para WRE in Salt Lake City, Utah this fall, click here. Details on related event information are available here.