What is classification?

Classification determines who is eligible to compete in Para Sport and groups eligible athletes with similar impairments into sport classes through a physical and sport specific technical evaluation carried out by a group of classifiers.

Within each class, athletes may look different from their competitors. This is because there can be different types of impairment in the same category. However, these different impairments affect sport performance to a similar extent.

Is classification equal for all sports?

As the functional activities of each sport vary, the classification system is different for each sport. International Sports Federations are responsible for developing their own sport specific classification system in line with the IPC Athlete Classification Code and its International Standards.

National Federations must also be compliant with the International rules. Please access the Paralympics Ireland National Classification Policy and Standards. 

Do I need to get classified?Everyone with a disability can participate in sport and physical activity. Classification is not required for general participation in sport but provides a structure for competition. If you want to start competing against other athletes with a disability or be selected onto development and high-performance squads then you will need to go through classification.
What are the levels of classification available in Ireland? 

There are two levels of classification in Ireland: a Provisional and a National Classification, which allows athletes to set goals and to assess their own performance against standards or records set by other athletes of the same class.

They are conducted in line with each International Sport Federation Classification Rules, and aims to give athletes as accurate an opinion as possible of what their international classification will be. Classification must be a formal assessment process in order to ensure accuracy and to provide fairness to all.

Provisional Classification:

Designed to allow athletes who do not have access to a sport specific classification panel, to gain an indication of their classification for their specific sport.

This is completed through a process where the athlete’s local medical professional provides relevant assessments and documentation.

This process provides an indication of a sport specific classification and is only valid for a 12-month period. Athletes with provisional classification are not eligible for national rankings and records or selection onto high-performance squads or teams.

National Classification: To obtain a National Classification you will need to attend a face-to-face evaluation carried out by Paralympics Ireland national classifiers, which is a sport specific classification identical to the one used internationally. This may involve physical testing, testing of sport specific movements, and often observation of sport performance.
International Classification: 

This level of classification is only needed to compete in sanctioned international competitions and is only available to athletes who demonstrate performance potential to transfer onto senior high-performance panels or are selected onto Irish national squads by the National Governing Body.

International classification is carried out by International Sport Federation classifiers.

Athletes should undergo national classification before attending an international evaluation.

How do I Get Involved or Get Classified?Additional information on how to get involved in Para sport and how to apply for national classification can be found on the sport specific page.

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