Classification helps to provide a structure for competition in Para and disability sport. The classification system is in place to minimize 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.
Athletes within New Zealand do not require a formal classification to participate within blind and low vision sport within their communities or at most inter-club or regional competitions.
When is an Athlete Classified?
Classification takes place before competitions by a panel of classifiers specializing in visual impairment assessment. During the evaluation process, classifiers follow the Classification Rules of the specific International Sport Federation.
Levels of Classification
Provisional classifications are temporary classifications allocated to an athlete and are valid until such time the athlete can be classified by a classification panel (National Classification).
Provisional classifications may be allocated to an athlete for a specific sport in one of, but not limited to, the following situations:
At a national event where a classification panel is not available
As a national entry level for athletes new to the sport to give a guideline as to their eligibility for Para-Sport.
Provisional classifications are allocated by a classifier on receipt of a Visual Impairment Medical Diagnostic Form which is obtained off the Paralympics New Zealand website: www.paralympics.org.nz
A provisional classification may be subject to change upon formal classification assessment by the sports specific classification panel.
A national classification is a sport specific classification carried out by a trained national classification panel. The classification process is the same process administered by the International Federation and outlined in the section below: “How is an Athlete Classified”.
A national classification is generally offered at national sport events where medals and records can be allocated to those athletes with a national classification.
An International Classification is allocated to all athletes reporting to an International Competition for the first time. Once an athlete has received a confirmed international classification they will not need to be classified again unless there is a change of medical condition.
How is an Athlete Classified?
An athlete is classified by a formal evaluation process by trained sport specific classifiers. Classifiers for athletes with vision impairments are vision specialists and may include those who are an ophthalmologist, optometrist or orthoptist. Prior to the commencement of classification evaluation an athlete must sign a consent form.
The athlete will then undergo a variety of assessments of the eyes and the appropriate competition sport class will be allocated according to the extent of the activity limitation resulting from the impairment. There is no cost to a classification
Each Para-Sport that is inclusive of athletes with a visual impairment may have just one class for visual impairment or three, as below.
Visual Acuity is poorer than LogMAR 2.60. May have some light perception but unable to see shape of hand at any distance
Visual Acuity ranges from LogMAR 1.50 to 2.60 inclusive; and/or a Visual Field that is constricted to a radius of 5 degrees. (up to 2/60 vision)
Visual Acuity ranges from LogMAR 1.40 to 1.0 inclusive; and/or a Visual Field constricted to a radius of 20 degrees, (2/60 to 6/60 vision)
For more information or to apply for a provisional classification please follow the Paralympics New Zealand link below: