What is classification?
Para-sport exists so that athletes with a disability have equal opportunities to compete and be successful in sport.
The classification system for Para-sport groups athletes with similar impairments into categories for competition. Classification systems vary across Para-sports.
Who may be eligible to compete in Para-sport?
Athletes who may be eligible to compete in Para-sport must have an eligible physical, vision or intellectual impairment that leads to a permanent activity limitation.
Eligible physical impairments include limb loss or deficiency, muscle weakness, hypertonia, ataxia, athetosis, joint restrictions, short stature and leg length difference.
Athletes are required to provide medical documentation that details their impairment type and level of impairment. There are specific minimum impairment criteria that athletes must meet in order to be eligible for each sport. This is determined through a classification assessment.
For more information on sport-specific classification systems, click here.
For more information on vision impairment classification systems, click here.
For general information on which sports you may be eligible for, please refer to the Classification Information Sheets for athletes with a physical, vision or intellectual impairment, or the Paralympics Australia Select-a-Sport tool.
Why is classification required?
Classification helps to ensure the type and severity of an athlete’s impairment has a minimal impact on the outcome of a race, event or match, meaning the the fastest, strongest or best athletes in each class should succeed in their sport.
When is classification required?
To compete in Para-sport as an athlete with a disability, you must undergo a sport-specific classification assessment and hold a classification class. This is not required for general participation or social involvement in Para-sport.
How do I get classified?
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, please contact your state sporting organisation. 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 complete the Get Involved and Get Classified registration form and the Paralympics Australia 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 Paralympics Australia and relevant national sports federations, and work as volunteers at a state, national and international level. If you are interested in becoming a classifier, click here.
If you have any questions, check out our Frequently Asked Questions
- Classification Information for Athletes
- Australian Athlete Classification Pathway – Sport Class Status Glossary
- Eligible Impairment Types and Medical Diagnostic Requirements
- Paralympics Australia Classification Standard – Athlete Evaluation
- Paralympics Australia Classification Standard – Protests and Appeals
- Paralympics Australia Classification Policy
- Intentional Misrepresentation – Information for Athletes and Athlete Support Personnel