What is 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 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.