We asked the IWBF what the current status is regarding the new classification rules, and they were kind enough to briefly explain the new process to us.
Following the introduction of the new 2021 Classification Rules, to be eligible and classified to play in official IWBF events (this does not include Euro League) all players must undertake the following three stages:
- Be assessed to have one of the following impairments: Impaired Muscle Power, Impaired Passive Range of Movement, Limb Deficiency, Leg Length Difference, Hypertonia, Ataxia or Athetosis. (These Eligible Impairments are defined by the IPC Athlete Classification Code and players must have an accepted Underlying Health Condition that leads to the Eligible Impairment also defined within the IPC Classification Code).
- Confirmation of an Eligible Impairment must be done before a player attends an official IWBF competition via submission of medical documents to an IWBF Eligibility Assessment Panel.
*Stage 1 is the stage that has already taken place for Internationally Classified Players who were submitted via the reassessment process. For those who have been deemed eligible it has been confirmed that they have an Eligible Impairment with an accepted underlying health condition as defined by the IPC Code and are listed on the Classification Master List with a sports class status as ‘Review Transition (RT)’.
- If a player is assessed to have an Eligible Impairment with an underlying health condition, they must then meet the Minimum Impairment Criteria (MIC) set out for that Impairment. (Details can be found in the Appendix of the new 2021 IWBF Classification Rules re: the MIC – Click!)
- The assessment of the MIC can only take place at a recognised IWBF Competition by an IWBF Classification Panel.
- All players must be assessed against the MIC. This includes all the internationally classified players who have already had their eligible impairment verified as it must be determined whether they also meet the new MIC.
Stage 2b & Stage 3
- If the player meets both Stage 1 & Stage 2a, they will then undergo the functional assessment (this includes observation in training and in competition) to have their sports class and sport class status allocated.
Further details on the new Player Evaluation Process for new players can be found here: Player evaluation!
Some other key information:
- To be Code compliant every para-sport must have an MIC that is based on scientific evidence-based research. The figures for the MIC have come out of the Research Project that the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport at Loughborough University undertook for IWBF.
- Any player who had their eligible impairment confirmed before 1 October 2021 but does not meet the MIC will have a transition period granted until the end of 2022 and can continue to play in International Competitions until then. From 1 January 2023 they will no longer be eligible to play internationally. Click here for more information on the Player Evaluation & Transition Provision. The transition period does not apply for new players.
- The first MIC assessments will take place in Madrid ahead of the European Championships.
- A Classification Master List is published and available on the IWBF website.
- IWBF, under clear directive from their membership, has had to develop and implement the new Classification Rules and processes to ensure they are compliant with the IPC Athlete Classification Code and International Standards to remain part of the Paralympic movement.
This is just a brief overview of what the new Classification Rules look like and mean for the sport. There is also an FAQ on the website available Click! which might answer more of your questions. Along with the following two news articles:
Text: Martin Schenk | Photo: Uli Gasper