Sports Summary

Biathlon was introduced in Lillehammer in 1994.

The competition is open to athletes with a physical impairment and blindness/visual impairment. It consists of a 7.5km route divided into three 2.5km stages. Between the two stages athletes must hit two targets located at a distance of 10 metres. Each miss is penalised by an increase in the overall route time.

The percentage-system is an adjusted time formula, which is used to determine overall place of each competitor relative to all other impaired racers. This formula assigns a percentage to each competitor based on each individual’s particular impaired race class. The athlete’s actual time is multiplied by this percentage to determine his/her adjusted finishing time. Each impairment class has a different percentage for the different techniques, classic and free technique. The percentages are evaluated after every season and changes are made if necessary.

The most important success factor lies in the capability of alternating the skills of physical endurance and shooting accuracy during the competition. Athletes with blindness/visual impairment are assisted by acoustic signals, which depending on signal intensity, indicate when the athlete is on target.

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Disabled Wintersport Australia

International Ski Federation

International Paralympic Committee

Events & Disciplines

  • Men race over 12.5km and 7.5km
  • Women race over 10km and 7.5km


Who is eligible for Biathlon?

Athletes with a physical impairment (such as limb loss or limb deficiency, spinal cord injury or nerve damage, cerebral palsy) or vision impairment.

What are the classes?

Athletes are classified into classes depending on their functional ability.
Athletes with a vision impairment: B1-B3 (athletes who ski standing)
Athletes with a physical impairment: LW 2-9 (athletes who ski standing) and LW10-12 (athletes who ski sitting)

How do I get a classification?

Currently there is no opportunity to be classified in Australia for Biathlon.
View a more detailed explanation of Biathlon classification below.

Classification Information Sheet – Para-biathlon (updated Nov 2019)

Rules & Equipment


The rifle shall be any type of air or CO2 rifle of conventional appearance with a five shot clip and in accordance with specifications of the International Union of Shooting’s (U.I.T) rule. For blind class, the rifle will be equipped with electro-acoustic glasses (optronic system).

Blind athletes are shooting with an electronic rifle that allows aiming by hearing. The closer the rifle points to the centre of the target the higher the tone is. The different tones that occur when the rifle is moved, allows the shooter to find the exact centre of the target.


An athlete with a lower-body impairment uses a sledge, which is a specially built chair that can be attached to a pair of skis. The skis are almost identical to standard skis, although shorter, and are attached to the chair with a standard cross-country binding.


Made from fibreglass, classical skis are usually 25cm to 30cm taller than the height of a skier. They are light, weighing less than 0.45kg each; and narrow, with curved tips and a cambered midsection, which is thicker and arched. Free technique skis are about 10cm to 15 cm shorter for greater manoeuvrability. They are also nominally stiffer and have tips that curve less than classical technique skis. The underside of both types of skis has a groove down the centre to keep the ski straight when going downhill.


Biathlon uses metal drop down targets which consist of a white target face plate with five target apertures, behind which are five independently operating knock down, falling plate scoring targets. The scoring plates must be black. A hit must be indicated by the black target circle being replaced by a white indicator disc. The target size has a diameter of 30mm for visually impaired athletes (class B) and 20mm for athletes with a physical impairment (class LW).