PARA ATHLETICS CLASSIFICATION: Top Paralympic stars in the United Kingdom could get reclassified!
It relates to many international athletes and a variety of different disability classes.
A key parliamentary hearing is looking into the claims. But, it seems some athletes received boosted medal hopes due to ‘exaggerated’ disabilities.
World Para Athletics is the international federation for Para athletics. They announced the amendments to Paralympic athlete classification rules and regulations.
Changes will focus on athletes with cerebral palsy, stroke, and multiple sclerosis. Those using lower limb blades may also fall under reclassification of the codes.
What does that means for British Paralympic competitors? Some of the UK’s top stars are among a large group asked to submit a new assessment.
The head coach of Para athletics at UK Athletics is on the case. They sent emails to British athletes affected. The advice was to follow the direction and return completed documentation without delay.
World Para Athletics Competitions
The World Para Athletics instruction admitted there would be ‘a great deal of work’. Even so, they said it was an ‘essential part of preserving the integrity of World Para Athletics competitions’.
The classification system integrity troubles the digital, culture, media, and sport select committee. They will hear further evidence on the subject as part of an inquiry into sport governance.
It follows complaints about the deliberate misrepresentation of the extent athlete impairments. Some critics compared it to drug use in similar versions of able-bodied sport. A warning of that severity prompted UK Athletics to announce their review.
There have been allegations of abuse, cheating, and interference in some of the disciplines. The select committee will gather evidence from several key figures in the sport.
Representatives will include the CEO of the British Paralympic Association (BPA). The aim is to ‘examine whether the current system of classification is fair’.
New Medical Assessments for Para Athletes
Assessors observe Paralympic athletes on and off the track. Athlete medical records also play a key part in the final decision of the class they should go into.
The new medical assessments will toughen the demands made of the competitors. Their doctors will need to fill in a new medical diagnostics form. The examination will also require recent medical documentation to support the diagnoses.
There are several classes of competitors affected by the new assessments. They include:
- T30s: Para athletes with cerebral palsy, stroke, or multiple sclerosis.
- T42 to T44: Class for Para athletes who use lower limb blades.
Several successful Paralympians are among those asked to submit to a new assessment. They include Toby Gold (wheelchair racer), Graeme Ballard and Jonnie Peacock, MBE (both sprinters).
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