What is Classification?
Athletes competing in para-sports have an impairment that leads to a competitive disadvantage. Consequently, a system has to be put in place to minimise the impact of impairments on sport performance and to ensure the success of an athlete is determined by skill, fitness, power, endurance, tactical ability and mental focus. This system is called classification. Classification determines who is eligible to compete in a para-sport and it groups the eligible athletes into sport classes according to their activity limitation in a certain sport. It also provides a structure for Competition. Classification aims to remove the level of impairment as a factor that determines the outcome of competition. Classification is sport specific.
The World ParaVolley classification system is based on the loss of locomotor function as it applies to volleyball (sitting or standing). This covers amputees (or congenital abnormalities like amputees) as well as Les Autres (a French word meaning ‘the others’) which includes other musculoskeletal injuries / conditions, as well as many neurological conditions. Examples of types of impairments with different conditions that may be eligible to play ParaVolley disciplines include:
- Impaired muscle power – e.g. following nerve injury
- Impaired passive range of movement
- Limb deficiency – e.g. amputations
- Leg length difference
What is required for Athlete Classification?
Athlete Evaluation by trained and certified World ParaVolley Classifiers forms the basis of the classification evaluation, and is supported by functional testing as well as observation during training and/or competition.
International classification can only happen in official World ParaVolley international events. Athletes must undergo evaluation by a panel of 2 or 3 classifiers prior to his/her first international competition. Classifiers work together to answer three questions:
- Does the athlete have an eligible impairment for ParaVolley?
It is the responsibility of the athlete to provide medical information to provide evidence of the presence of a health condition that leads to an eligible impairment for any sport discipline of ParaVolley. Athletes with a status of “New” or “Review” should have his/her physician or medical specialist complete a World ParaVolley Medical Diagnostics Form and provide all supporting medical reports to be emailed in advance to World ParaVolley and brought to athlete classification. The Medical Diagnostics Form along with supporting medical evidence must be submitted to the World ParaVolley Event Chief Classifier at least three months prior to international competition.
World ParaVolley Medical Diagnostics Form (PDF link)
IPC – International Standard for Eligible Impairments (PDF link)
- Does the athlete’s eligible impairment meet the minimum disability for a ParaVolley discipline?
The criteria for minimum disability for Sitting and Standing Volleyball is outlined in the World ParaVolley Classification Handbook and Classification Charts.
- Which sport class describes the athlete’s activity limitation most accurately?
There are two sport classes in sitting volleyball and three sport classes in Standing Volleyball.
The World ParaVolley International Classification Master List – What is it?
World ParaVolley maintains a Classification Master List of Athletes, which includes the athlete’s name, gender, year of birth, country, Sport Class and Sport Class Status. This List identifies Athletes that are eligible to enter International Competitions.
World ParaVolley International Classification Master List – July 3, 2016 (PDF link)
Medical Review Requests
An athlete with a Permanent (Confirmed) Status who has reason to believe that his/her Impairment and Activity Limitations are no longer consistent with the profile for his/her Sport Class (due to medical deterioration or a medical intervention) should have his or her class reviewed. The means by which this can take place is referred to as a “Medical Review”. The medical review request must be made by the Athlete’s NPC/NF. Medical Review Requests must be received by The Head of World ParaVolley Classification Commission at least 3 months before the next competition where the athlete intends to compete (6 months prior to Paralympic Games), along with a non-refundable fee of 100 EUR. Each Medical Review Request will be assessed by a medical review panel. Should the panel believe the athlete’s impairment is no longer consistent with the athlete’s sport class, the athlete will be given the sport class status “Review” and will be required to undergo classification at his/her next available opportunity.
World ParaVolley Medical Review Request Form (PDF link)
Please contact your Zonal Chair of Classification or National Classifier to get more information:
Zonal Classifier Contacts: