Classification is a sport-based system of levelling the competition playing field for athletes with a physical disability.The classification system has been designed to minimize the impact of disability on the outcome of competition so that athletes who succeed in competition do so on the basis of their sporting ability not on the level of their disability. Like boxing or weightlifting, where athletes are categorized by weight classes, athletes with disabilities are grouped into classifications (referred to as "sport classes") defined by the degree of function presented by their disability. Athletes undergo an evaluation that first determines their eligibility to compete and then groups them into a competitive sport class. An evaluation consists of standardized tests which are assessed by medical and technical experts on a classification panel.
Classification for Para-sport competition is regulated by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) through a set of rules called the "IPC Classification Code". This is a detailed document which creates the basis for all Para-sport classification. Individual nations may have their own classification rules but they must comply with the IPC Classification Code for their athletes to be eligible to compete internationally. A specific Para-Nordic classification guide IPC Nordic Skiing classification rules and Regulations is also available from the IPC.
Para-Nordic skiing (Cross-Country and Biathlon) is divided into three main categories each with several sport classes. In competition each category is run as a separate medal event.
- Standing LW 2-9
- Sitting LW 10-12
- Visually impaired B 1-3
Letter-number codes identify the athlete’s specific competitive category that is their sport class. LW (Locomotion Winter) refers to winter
athletes with a locomotive
disability, and B (Blind) refers to athletes who are visually impaired.
The results of a competition are based upon a time handicap system. A mathematic formula applies a percentage (factor) to each athlete based upon their classification so that athletes with the highest level of disability receive a larger time bonus to create an equitable competition. The athlete’s "real time" is multiplied by percentage to determine their final "calculated" time. Therefore, the athlete who completed the race in the fastest "real time" may not be the winner.
More info - One page classification summary showing sport class with handicap percentage and related functional disability and equipment .
More Info -List of Canadian athletes - Classification percentages effective March 23rd, 2013.
More Info - Winter sport classification on the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) website.