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41 sportspeople classified ahead of the Rio Games

By Con-struct (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons By Con-struct (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

With the International Paralympic Committee having made every effort to communicate with their International Federations that they wanted to eliminate at Games classification, the total number of sportspeople being classified or re-classified in Rio is 41. The number is down greatly from the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, where 300 sportspeople were classified or reclassified.

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The change in the process led to push back from some National Paralympic Committees who did not like these changes.  Some were very vocal about their dislike of this new system, and the IPC reached out to try to reassure them and explain how the system worked.  Despite these efforts, allegations of classification cheating are being spread with some in the British media reporting that some doctors wrote falsified letters claiming greater disability than actually existed.  The International Paralympic Committee investigated these claims, and found no evidence of this.

Because of some issues involving accusations of classification cheating surrounding the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow, the IPC went through classification and identified a number of swimmers that they felt warranted having their classification status revisited.  While the IPC strongly believes that their classification system is not broken, they do acknowledge that classifiers are human and it does not hurt to re-check their work on occasion.  During this process, they communicated with the NPC and impacted swimmers to make everything as transparent and as clear as possible.

With the goal of keeping classification fair and based on functional ability, and with the knowledge that functional ability can change for sportspeople over time, the IPC is continually investigating classification to insure the best system is in place.  They are in touch regularly with all their international federations to check up on the latest research they are doing about classification and to insure that classification remains fair in sports not governed by the IPC.  According to the IPC, there are currently 20 different ongoing research projects that are assessing classification right now to insure that the system continues to be fair and remain fair going forward.

Laura Hale
About Laura Hale (2529 Articles)
Laura Hale is a sport journalist, specializing in Paralympic and disability sport news. Prior to helping found ParaSport-News, she spent two and a half years working as a journalist on Wikinews, a citizen journalism site. As a journalist, she has covered the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, the 2013 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships in La Molina, the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, and a number of other sporting events. She has additional experience with Paralympic sport having worked as a Wikipedian in Residence for the Australian and Spanish Paralympic Committees.

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