What is classification?
Para-sport exists so that athletes with an impairment 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.
Keen to get involved in Para-sport or find out more about classification? Complete our Para-sport info form and a member of the team will be in contact with you soon.
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 ataxia, athetosis, hypertonia, joint restrictions, leg length difference, limb loss or deficiency, muscle weakness and short stature.
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.
Information on sport-specific classification systems.
Information on vision impairment classification systems.
For general information on sports you may be eligible for, please refer to the Classification Information Sheets below.
- Classification Information Sheet for Athletes with a Physical Impairment (updated 2020)
- Classification Information Sheet for Athletes with an Intellectual Impairment (update Jan 2020)
- Classification Information Sheet for Athletes with a Vision Impairment
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 fastest, strongest or best athletes in each class should succeed in their sport.
When is classification required?
To compete in Para-sport, 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 you get involved or get classified?
If you have a physical, vision or intellectual impairment and want to get involved in Para-sport or get classified, please contact your relevant state sporting organisation. If they are unable to provide you with the information you require, please contact the team at Paralympics Australia and we will do our best to assist you.
What is the role of a classifier?
A classifier assesses an athlete’s impairment 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 Paralympics Australia and relevant national sporting organisations, and work as volunteers at a state, national and international level.
For more information, check out our FAQs.
- Australian Athlete Classification Pathway – Sport Class Status Glossary
- Classification Information for Athletes
- Eligible Impairment Types and Medical Diagnostic Requirements
- Intentional Misrepresentation – Information for Athletes and Athlete Support Personnel
- Paralympics Australia Classification Policy – updated April 2020
- Preparing for International Classification: Athlete Responsibilities and the Classification Process