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.
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?
Athletes with a Vision Impairment – Click here for classification information
National Federation / Event Organisers – Click here for classification resources
Interested in becoming a classifer in Australia?