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Paralympic Classification A-Z

03 Sep Posted by in Blog | Comments
Paralympic Classification A-Z

We at CARA have been glued to the Paralympics the last week and continue to be blow away by the ability of all the athletes especially Team Ireland who like our Olympians are on course for their best games. We have been left scratching our heads with the classifications so if you what to know your BC1,s from your T44,s here is a quick A-Z guide


The event has three classifications:

ARST (standing) Athletes who compete in a standing position and also those who need to use a stool because of poor balance.
ARW1 Wheelchair users who have impairment that affects their arms, legs and trunk and compete from a seated position.
ARW2 Wheelchair users who have full arm function with impairment that affects legs and trunk, and compete in a seated position.

The Letter F is for field athletes, T is for people competing on the track, and the number refers to their disability.
11-13 Visual impairment.
20 Intellectual impairment.
31-38 Athletes with cerebral palsy or conditions that affect muscle co-ordination and control.
Athletes in 31-34 use wheelchairs and 35-38 compete standing.
40 Athletes with, dwarfism.
42-46 Amputees, 42-44 for athletes with legs affected and classes 45 and 46 for athletes with arms affected. These athletes compete standing.
51-58 Wheelchair racers and field athletes – throwing from a seated position.

BC1 Athletes who can either throw or kick the ball. They may have an assistant to hand them Boccia balls.
BC2 Athletes who find throwing the ball easier than BC1 competitors. They require no assistance.
BC3 Athletes who deliver each ball by using a ramp and have an assistant whom they instruct to position the ramp.
BC4 Athletes who do not have cerebral palsy but conditions such as muscular dystrophy, spina bifida and tetraplegia. They will often use an underhand pendulum swing to release the ball.

B Two riders on a tandem, with a visually impaired athlete sitting at the back and a sighted pilot at the front.
H1-H4 Athletes with leg impairments who use handcycles, pedals operated by hand.
T1-T2 Tricycle riders whose balance would make them unable to use a two-wheeled bicycle.
C1-C5 Athletes who use bicycles, often with modifications. They have impairments but compete using standard bikes.

Grade Ia Severely disabled riders with impairments of all limbs.
Grade Ib Riders with either severely reduced trunk control and minimal upper limb conditions or moderate upper and lower limb and trunk conditions.
Grade II Riders with very limited ability in both lower limbs but good trunk balance.
Grade III Riders able to walk independently who have impairments in both arms or have no arms, or moderate impairments of all four limbs.
Grade IV Impaired vision or reduced motion or muscle strength or impaired arm or leg function.

Football 5-a-side
Five-a-side football is for athletes with visual impairment. All four outfield players must wear eyeshades to ensure fairness. The goalkeeper is sighted and does not wear an eyeshade but cannot leave the goal area. There is no offside and the ball contains ball bearings to make noise when it moves.

Football 7-a-side
Seven-a-side football is played by athletes with cerebral palsy under four different classifications.
Teams must include one player with a C5 or C6 classification or play with six players. No more than three C8 athletes are allowed to play at the same time.
C5 Athletes who have difficulties when walking and running, but not when standing.
C6 Players with control or coordination problems in the upper limbs.
C7 Coordination problems in one arm and leg on the same side of body.
C8 Minimal disability athletes. They must meet certain criteria and have obvious impairment that has an impact on their ability to play football.

Goalball is a sport for the visually impaired. There is no classification as a special rule applies to all competitors. All players must wear a blackout eyeshade, whether blind or visually impaired, to ensure fairness. Masks are checked during the game. The ball has a bell inside and all games are played in total silence.

Only visually impaired athletes can take part in judo at the Paralympics. All athletes compete together and are divided by weight in the same way as able-bodied competitors. Athletes begin the bout “gripped up” rather than apart.

There are three categories to assist the judges.

B1 Athletes classed as blind. They wear a red circle on their sleeves so that officials can apply rules according to their special circumstances.
B2-B3 Athletes with different degrees of visual impairment.

Powerlifting is open to all athletes with a physical disability and is classified by weight.

AM1x A single scull boat for men. The athlete’s impairment means he can only use arms and shoulders to accelerate the boat.
AW1x The single scull boat for women where the athlete only has full movement in arms and shoulders.
TA2x A mixed double scull boat where the athletes can only use shoulders, trunk and arms.
LTA4+ A mixed coxed four boat of two men and two women. The athletes will have impairments that affect their ability to row but are able to use legs, trunks and arms. The cox is not required to have an impairment.

Athletes from the amputee, cerebral palsy, visually impaired, wheelchair and les autres groups can compete together. Athletes are assigned points based on their ability to perform tasks specific to the sport. The higher the score, the more ability the athlete is considered to have.
Three-person keelboat Each athlete is assigned a score between 1-7. The total points of all three sailors must not exceed 14 points.
Two-person keelboat TPA Athlete with an impairment with a greater impact on their ability to sail.
TPB Impairment with lesser impact. One TPA and one TPB make up the crew.
Single-person keelboat The athlete must have minimum eligibility equivalent of seven points in three-person keelboat.

SH1 Athletes who can support the weight of their firearm themselves. These shooters participate in both rifle and pistol events.
SH2 Athletes who use a shooting stand for support. They will have impairment that affects one or both of their arms. They shoot only in rifle events.

1-10 Athletes with physical impairments. Class 1 has the greatest impact, 10 the least.
11-13 Visual impairment.
14 Athletes with intellectual impairment.
S An S before the class represents freestyle, backstroke and butterfly swimmers.
SB Indicates breaststroke events.
SM Individual medley events.

Table tennis
1-5 Wheelchair athletes competing in a sitting position. Class 1 is the most severely disabled and Class 5 the least disabled.
6-10 Standing athletes. Class 6 is the most severely disabled and Class 10 the least.
11 Athletes with an intellectual disability.

Sitting volleyball
Sitting volleyball is played by athletes with a physical disability that prevents them playing the standing version of the game. There are two classes of athlete.

D Disabled players. There must be five players from this category on court at all times during the match.
MD Minimally disabled. There can only be one such player on court at any one time.

Wheelchair basketball
Basketball is open to wheelchair athletes, whose impairments may include paraplegia, lower-limb amputation, cerebral palsy and polio.
Athletes are classified according to physical ability and are given a points rating between 1 and 4.5, based on their functional ability.
One point equates to the most severe disability, 4.5 to the least. During play, the total on-court value for the five players cannot exceed 14 points.

Wheelchair fencing

Fencing is open to wheelchair athletes, whose impairments may include spinal cord injuries, lower-limb amputation and cerebral palsy, and whose conditions prohibit them from competing against standing, able-bodied fencers.
Athletes competing in this event are split into two classes.
Category A – Athletes have good trunk control and their fencing arm is not affected by impairment. They will have good balance and recovery.
Category B – Athletes have an impairment that affects either their trunk or their fencing arm. They will generally have poor balance and recovery, but full use of one or both upper limbs.

Wheelchair rugby
Every player in the squad, which is made up of men and women, is assigned a points value from 0.5 to 3.5 based on their disability. The total on-court value for each team of four players cannot exceed eight points.
For each female player a team fields on court, the maximum points level increases by 0.5.

Wheelchair tennis
Players are allowed two bounces of the ball, the first bounce being within the bounds of the court.
There are two categories in Paralympic competition.

Open Athletes have an impairment to one or both legs but it does not affect their arms or hands.
Quad Competitors have an impairment that affects both arms and legs, limits their ability to handle the racket and move their wheelchair compared with the open-class athletes. Men and women compete together in the quad events.

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