ATHLETICS CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM
In sport, classification exists so that athletes compete in fair and equal competition. Most sports have simple classification systems that group athletes according to age, gender or weight. In Paralympic Sport, the wide range of sports and disabilities create unique classification systems. Paralympic classification groups athletes according to how their disability impacts on their sport. Athletes compete against others with similar disabilities, so that the athletes who succeed do so on the basis of athletic performance. In Australia, classification is a free service that is available to any athlete that wishes to compete against others with a similar disability.
Classification is not a requirement for general participation in athletics and all athletes are also encouraged to participate and compete in mainstream opportunities where appropriate.
For full details regarding the classification system in Australia please refer to the Athletics Australia Classification Policy and Procedures.
There are a range of disability groups eligible to compete within the Australian athletics system as an athlete with a disability. These disability groups are separated into varying classifications to ensure fair competition. The classification groups are as follows:
T/F 01 Hearing impairment (Deaf Sport classes)
T/F 11-13 Visual impairment (Paralympic Classes)
T/F 20 Intellectual impairment (Paralympic Classes)
T/F 31-38 Cerebral Palsy & Acquired Brain Injury (Paralympic Classes)
T/F 40-46 Amputees & Short Stature (Paralympic Classes)
T 51-54 Wheelchair (Track Events) (Paralympic Classes)
F 51-58 Wheelchair (Field Events) (Paralympic Classes)
T/F 60 Transplant Recipients (Transplant Sport classes)
Each disability group has a set of minimal disability criteria that an athlete must meet in order to be eligible to compete as an athlete with a disability. Athletes must undergo specific Athlete Evaluation or Eligibility processes to obtain a classification. Evaluation and Eligibility processes are outlined in the Athletics Australia Classification Policy and Procedures.
Eligible Athletes are able to receive a Classification for both track and field. A prefix indicates which discipline the classification applies to. The prefix ‘T’ indicates the classification for Track events. The prefix ‘F’ indicates the classification for Field events.
To register for your interest in being classified for the Paralympic classes contact your state Australian Paralympic Committee Development Officer or complete the expression of interest form on the APC website here.
To register your interest in being classified for Deaf Sport classes contact Deaf Sports Australia.
To register your interest in being classified for Transplant sport classes contact Transplant Australia.
The National Classification Master List is the official record of Australian classified athletes in the Paralympic classes. This master list is managed by the Australian Paralympic Committee in agreement with classification system partners. Certain classification information is made public to assist athletes, coaches and meet organisers (e.g. athletes name, state, date of birth, classification and classification status).
Download the Athletics Classification Master List.
Many Schools, Clubs and Associations conduct events for athletes with a disability, but do not have sufficient numbers in each classification to hold competition events just for athletes in that l classification. As a result, athletes with a disability are often combined into one event which caters for athletes across a wide variety of disabilities and classifications. In this situation all athletes are generally grouped together in one of four separate categories;
Ambulant Track; athletes who can compete on the track standing
Wheelchair Track; athletes who use a wheelchair to compete on the track
Ambulant Field; athletes who can compete in a field event standing
Wheelchair Field; athletes who use a wheelchair to compete in a field event
In order to compete in Multi Class competition athletes must have an eligible classification. Event results are determined using the Multi Disability Scoring Tables (MDS).
The MDS tables have been developed by Athletics Australia for use at underage competitions within Australia at all levels from school age to National Championships.
For open competition World Records for each individual Classification are used to determine results for multiclass events.
MULTI-DISABILITY SCORING TABLES
Athletics Australia has developed the MDS tables over many years to provide an opportunity for athletes with a disability to compete in a fair and equitable underage competition across disability groups.
The MDS Tables are developed using a complex calculation that takes into account;
World records, Paralympic records, Australian records, and age records as well as external factors such as availability and quality of sport specific prosthetics.
The calculation determines a performance mark for each classification that athletes are then compared against.
These calculations are regularly reviewed based on the above factors.
The tables are available by clicking here.
Athletics Australia encourages all individual athletes with a disability to become a member of their nearest Athletics club. Training and competition opportunities generally exist within your region as part of the able bodied program, in addition to integrated or stand alone disability events and opportunities which may exist at a state, national and international level.
AUSTRALIAN PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE www.paralympic.org.au
The Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) is the peak national body responsible for Australia's elite athletes with a disability. The APC is responsible for Paralympic classification, Talent Identification and Paralympic Education Programs (Classifications T/F11 – T/F58)
AUSRAPID is a national organisation established to increase the sporting and recreational opportunities for all people with an intellectual disability within Australia. AUSRAPID manages the classification eligibility process for athletes with an intellectual disability (Classifications T/F20)
DEAF SPORTS AUSTRALIA www.deafsports.org.au
Deaf Sports Australia (DSA) is the peak body for deaf sport in Australia. DSA manage deaf specific competitions, promote the participation of people with a hearing impairment in sport and manage eligibility for hearing impaired classification (Classifications T/F01)
TRANSPLANT AUSTRALIA www.transplant.org.au
Transplant Australia is a national organisation existing to enrich and celebrate life. Transplant Australia manages the classification eligibility process for transplantees (Classifications T/F 60)
Check out our athletes heading to the Paralympics in London on the Paralympic youtube channel here
For more information please contact Scott Witham - AWD Development Coordinator at Athletics Australia.