All International Federations that are members of the International Paralympic Committee have become signatories to the IPC Classification Code and its associated International Standards. As a signatory, World ParaVolley is not only obliged to apply the Code but also to review its own classification rules and processes to ensure that they are compliant, and remain compliant, with the Code. It is the goal of the World ParaVolley, as it is of all International Sports Organisations that are signatories to the IPC Classification Code, to ensure that our classification rules and the processes that support them are as credible, sport focused, objective and transparent as possible.
Within World ParaVolley, we have a classification system that was developed many years ago, and that has had some modification over time. However, since 1997 there had not been a significant substantive and consultative review of our classification rules and processes, particularly with respect to Sitting Volleyball, even though the Medical and Functional Classification Handbook was updated and rebranded with the World ParaVolley logo in 2011. It is broadly acknowledged that, while improvements have been made, there is a lack of sport specificity as well as some ambiguities within the system. These issues can and have at times led to misunderstandings and inconsistent application of the classification rules. Anecdotal evidence would indicate that while there are significant differences in opinion about what should be changed in our classification system, there does appear to be a consensus that there is a need for a substantive review, which includes opportunity for the membership and stakeholders to provide input.
At the 2012 General Assembly the Sport Director made a commitment to ensure a review of the WOVD (now World ParaVolley) Classification system would take place after the London 2012 Paralympic Games, and to advise the membership in a timely manner, what that process of review and consultation would involve. To that end, it was proposed that WOVD (now World ParaVolley) undertake a transparent and consultative review of its classification system and processes. The Review Process was initiated, but was halted before completion following IPC’s announcement of their review and revision of the IPC Classification Code.
The updated IPC Athlete Classification Code (2015) has now been released, as well as the recently IPC approved International Standards (September 2016) that accompany the Athlete Classification Code. The Classification Review Panel has been reconvened and all members have accepted their appointments. The Panel will be Chaired by Wayne Hellquist, Vice-President of World ParaVolley. The process for the review is outlined in the document below.