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Edition 12 - October 2017

Welcome to the twelth edition of the British Paralympic Association’s (BPA's) Classification Newsletter.

The newsletter provides an update each quarter on key classification activities that are taking place in the UK, along with important international developments.

The next edition of the BPA's Classification Newsletter will be issued in January 2018.

Final chance to give your view! Second draft of UK National Athlete Classification Code published

BPA have published a 2nd draft of the UK National Athlete Classification Code for consultation.

The 1st draft of the Code was published in July and a number of amendments have been made reflecting the submissions received.

The 2nd draft Code can be read by clicking on this link

You are invited to send your submissions on this draft of the Code to the BPA’s Classification Manager before Friday 17 November.

The BPA Board will be considering a final version of the Code at its December meeting and the Code is expected to come into effect shortly after. 


World Para Athletics and World Para Swimming each announce significant classification rule changes

World Para Athletics and World Para Swimming have each announced changes to their classification rules that will come into effect on 1 January 2018.

Each International Fedreation said the changes followed valuable input and consultation with their membership, Classification Advisory Groups and research partners.

Athletics’ rule changes will see new testing being rolled out for classes T20, F20, T31-T38 and F31-38, while a new set of classes (T61-64) has been created exclusively for athletes who compete wearing prosthetic legs. World Para Athletics’ press release on these rule changes can be read by clicking here.

Swimming have revised its Water Test for swimmers with a physical impairment. The tests for assessing swimmers with an intellectual impairment have also been updated. As a consequence, the majority of physically and intellectually impaired swimmers currently competing are expected to undergo classification evaluation again. World Para Swimming’s press release on these rule changes can be read by clicking here.

 Jonnie Peacock competing in the T44 100m in Rio

BPA Chief Executive blogs on the continued positive development of classification for Inside the Games

Inside the Games have published a blog by the British Paralympic Association's Chief Exceutive Tim Hollingsworth, on the importance of a robust classification system ahead of him giving evidence to the House of Commons' Digital, Culture, Media Select Committee.

While acknowledging that the Classification process and classes involved are many, various, and complicated, Tim's blog views classification as fundamental and essential and recognises accurate classification as the bedrock of Paralympic sport.

The blog concludes that classification is more robust than ever before and commits the BPA to continuing in its leading role in ensuring fairness in sport is achieved.

You can read it by clicking here.


BPA Classification Manager presents at Experts' Meeting in Toronto

Iain Gowans, the BPA's Classification Manager, presented at the International Paralympic Committee's Classification Experts’ Meeting in Toronto in September.

The meeting, attended by the IPC's Classification Committee, International Federations and National Paralympic Committees, was an opportunity to discuss the Paralympic Movement's classification agenda. In particular: compliance with the IPC Athlete Classification Code, exchanging best practices on classification, current challenges and the strategic direction of classification moving forwards.

Gowans presented on the independent review into British Athletics' classification practices which was published in March of this year. The presentation highlighted the benefits that can be achieved from cross-discipline and cross-sport collaboration, as well as the need for improved education on the subject of classification.


British Para Table Tennis seek medics for classification workshop

British Para Table Tennis are hosting a classification workshop at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 November.

The following areas will be covered over the weekend:

- History of Para sport and Para Table Tennis
- Eligible impairments
- Physical assessment
- Basic components of table tennis
- Basic classification criteria

While physiotherapists, sport scientists and table tennis coaches are eligible to attend the workshop, BPTT are looking to increase the intake of doctors.

For further information please contact Shaun Marples, BPTT Performance Pathway Manager:


British Rowing host national medical classifier training

On 7 and 8 October, British Rowing hosted FISA recognised classifier training at the London Regatta Centre.

British Rowing’s Simon Goodey was joined by Tomislav Smoljanović from Croatia in training 10 medical classifiers who received the theory of World Para Rowing’s classification and saw a practical demonstration on the Saturday before putting that knowledge into practice by classifying 11 rowers on Sunday.


British Athletics hold annual classifiers’ development weekend in Cardiff

18 classifiers attended British Athletics annual classifiers' development weekend in Cardiff on the 21-22 October.

Hugh Gilmore, a sport psychologist with the English Institute of Sport, opened the weekend sharing current theory and practices from other disciplines when dealing with difficult outcomes and delivering bad news.

Case studies of the few athletes who has changed class moving from national to international were then presented and discussed and key learnings captured. Draft crib sheets to standardise the language used by both medical and technical classifiers were trialled and the use of video technology as an aid to observation in competition were also tested.


Content for future issues

The next edition of the BPA’s Classification Newsletter will be issued by 31 January 2018.

If you have content you would like to be included please email the BPA's Classification Manager, Iain Gowans.