What is classification?
Paralympic sport exists so that athletes with a disability have equal opportunities to compete and be successful in sport. Classification groups athletes who have similar impairments together into classes for competition in their particular sport. Each Paralympic sport has a different classification system.
Who may be eligible for Para-Sport?
An athlete who wishes to compete in Para-sport must have an eligible impairment that leads to a permanent activity limitation.
- Physical Impairment.
Types of physical impairments for Paralympic sport are limb loss or limb deficiency, muscle weakness, hypertonia, ataxia, athetosis, joint restrictions, short stature or leg length difference.
- Vision Impairment
- Intellectual Impairment
Each sport specific classification system details the impairment types within their sport. Athletes are required to provide medical documentation for classification that details their impairment type and level of impairment. There are specific minimal impairment criteria that athletes must meet in order to be eligible for the sport. This is determined through a classification assessment.
For more information on sport-specific classification systems, visit the sport profile classification pages for Summer and Winter sports.
For general information about which sports you may be eligible for, please refer to the fact sheets below for physical, vision or intellectual impairment or the APC Select-A-Sport tool.
Why is classification required?
By grouping similar athletes together, an athlete’s disability plays less of an impact on the outcomes of competition. This means that classification helps to allow the fastest, strongest or best athletes in each class to succeed in their sport.
When is classification required?
If you want to compete in sport as an athlete with a disability, you must undergo a sports-specific classification assessment and hold a classification class. This isn’t required for general participation or social involvement in sport.
In Australia, there are 3 levels of classification:
Provisional: For athletes who compete at club, school or regional competition and do not have access to a sport specific classification panel.
National: For athletes who have access to a recognised sport specific classification panel, and compete at state or national championships.
International: For athletes who are selected for international competition.
School Sport Classification
For more information on opportunities available for students in representative School Sport visit School Sport Australia website. Also see the below document School Sport Classification Quick Guide.
How do I get a classification?
Please contact your state based sporting organisation if you have a physical, vision or intellectual impairment and want to ‘get involved’ in Para-sport or ‘get classified’ to compete against other athletes with a disability in a Para-sport. They will be able to assist you to get involved or provide details of opportunities to get classified.
If your state sporting organisation is unable to provide you with the information you require to get classified, please register with the following form – Get Into Sport and the APC will endeavour to assist you.
What is the role of a classifier?
Classifiers are trained and certified, and assess athletes impairments to determine their sport class and sport class status, according to the International classification rules for their sport. Classifiers have either medical or technical qualifications, combined with sport specific expertise. In Australia, they are trained and certified by the Australian Paralympic Committee and national sports federations, and work as volunteers at a state, national and international level. Interested in becoming a classifier?
What is the APC’s role in classification?
The APC is committed to ensuring that Australian athletes with physical, vision and intellectual impairment have access to classification at all levels of their sporting pathway. The APC leads the strategic direction of Australian classification, ensuring ongoing compliance with IPC Classification Code and the International Federation Classification Rules.
The APC is focused on creating more classification opportunities for athletes at a junior or developmental level and working with the National Federations to drive and develop the national classification directions for each sport.
The APC delivers classification programs for the sports of Alpine Skiing, Boccia, Goalball, Para-snowboard, Powerlifting and classification for athletes with a Vision Impairment across all sports. For further information refer to the individual sports pages or Vision Impairment classification page.
Classification Policies and Procedures
Under the APC’s national classification strategy, the APC manages Australia’s Classification Policies and Procedures, in accordance with the IPC Classification Code. These Policies and Procedures are attached below include:
– APC Classification Policy
– APC Classification Standard: Roles and Responsibilities for Classification in Australia
– APC Classification Standard: Classifier certification, training and development
– APC Classification Standard: Athlete Evaluation
– APC Classification Standard: Protests and Appeals
– APC National Classification Best Practise Guidelines
Athletes with a Vision Impairment – Click here for classification information
National Federation / Event Organisers – Click here for classification resources
Australian Classifiers – Click here for Classifier information
Interested in becoming a classifer in Australia?
Commonly asked questions
What happens during a classification?
I don’t live near a major city – how do I get classified?
What is the minimum age for classification?
Do I need to be classified more than once in a sport?
My medical condition has changed/deteriorated – can I get classified again?
I have a classification in one sport and want to compete in another sport, do I need to get classified again?
There seems to be a broad range of disabilities in my class. Is this fair?
Do I need a copy of my classification?
Do I need to prove that I have been classified when I enter into a competition?
My classification has expired or is due for review – can I still compete?
I’ve been to a classification assessment and have been told I’m not eligible for a sport – what does this mean?
I do not agree with the class I’ve been allocated – what can I do?
I do not agree with the way my classification was conducted – what can I do?