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Qualification process for Rio underway

This was originally written for What are qualifying requirements like for the Paralympic Games as of late 2015?.



Qualifying requirements for the Paralympic Games really depend, as each sport has their own requirements. This system then has another level to it, in that even if you earn a qualifying spot for your country, you still need your National Paralympic Committee (NPC) to nominate you as part of your country’s team. (It is possible to earn a qualifying spot for your team but not be selected for the team as you don’t earn it as an individual.) Oh, and some sports have direct invitation with the goal of giving countries opportunities to participate where they not otherwise via the Bipartite Commission Invitation Allocation which is relevant in some sports like athletics, swimming, cycling, judo. As of late 2015, some sports have pretty much closed qualification as the major direct qualifying events are done. The following is the general qualifying information for some sports.

Some of the following text comes from Category:Nations at the 2016 Summer Paralympics , where I wrote almost all of the text on the qualifying process.


The primary qualifying event for the sport was 2015 World Archery Para Championships , with allocation of qualifying spots based on finish at the event. 82 qualifying spots were earned by NPCs at this event.


The first major round of qualification took place with the 2015 Regional Championships Teams earlier this year with qualifying events for Europe, Asia & Oceania, and Americas & Africa. If an NPC had a first place finish at a regional qualifier, they qualified a team. I don’t recall their being an African regional, so these spots are put back into the qualifying pool and re-allocated for the second round of qualifying based on the 2016 Teams and Pairs World Ranking List . The top 8 ranked not already qualified teams earn spots in BC1/BC2 Teams, top four otherwise unqualified nations get spots in the BC3 Pairs and BC4 Pairs events. A similar set up takes place for the individual events based on the 2016 Individual World Ranking List .


One pathway for qualification being one highest ranked NPCs on the UCI Para-Cycling male and female Nations Ranking Lists on 31 December 2014. This ranking list was further divided by region, with spots coming from that. You could qualify as an African country with a lower national rank than a European country that did qualify. Rank was based on a number of UCI events that occurred in 2014, where national team nominated participants were included. A minimum participation is required in certain events to retain your spot, even if you otherwise appear on the ranking list. My understanding is non-national team members were not counted for ranking. (In some events, non-national team members participate with the idea of getting more exposure or cracking the national team roster.)

After a country qualifies comes the secondary issue of which cyclists can compete. NPC can nominate a team that maxes out with 14 men and 7 women. (Tandem bicycles for vision impaired cyclists count as one athlete.)

The 2016 UCI Combined Nations Ranking is then used to determine the next round of qualification, where the goal is select the highest ranked cyclists and allocate cyclist totals among male qualifying spots. This will depend on nomination by classification in some cases in order to insure the medal events have enough cyclists to hold the competition. This is because some classes are deeper and more competitive than others.

You have ten spots for Bipartite Commission Invitation Allocation to invite cyclists, with 5 for men and 5 for women. The selection is going to be based on a variety of factors including medal event competitiveness, and availability of cyclists in some classes.

Athletes have to meet an individual set of requirements, and be nominated by their NPC.

Football 5-a-side

The qualification for Football 5-a-side came via the World Championships, and regional qualifiers. I believe all qualifying spots have been earned as of late 2015.

Football 7-a-side

The qualification for Football 7-a-side came via the World Championships, and regional qualifiers. Qualifying was also based on international ranking, as not all regions had enough teams to hold regional qualifiers. (It is one of the reasons the sport is off the program in 2020.) I believe all qualifying spots have been earned as of late 2015.


The qualification for Goalball came via the World Championships, and regional qualifiers. I believe all qualifying spots have been earned as of late 2016.


Winning gold at the 2014 World Championships qualified 7 men and 6 women for Rio. This earns the NPC a spot, not the individual judoka. The rankings for the 2015 World Ranking List give NPCs qualifying spots for 63 men and 30 women. These are based on rankings per class. This closes 31 December 2015. Bipartite Commission Invitation invites 7 men and 6 women to round out qualifying. The NPCs are then charged with nominating their judoka.


The top six finishers per medal event at the 2015 World Championships earned their NPCs a qualifying spot. Countries could only get one qualifying spot per event, so if they had several boats in the top six, they still only earned one spot. This is repeated at the 2016 World Championships but with only the top four boats (three if Brazil doesn’t earn a spot on their merits) earning qualifying spots. If a country already qualified, the spot goes to the next eligible NPC on the list.


2015 World Rowing Championships was a major qualifying event, with NPCs earning qualifying spots based on the finishing of the country in each event.


There are a certain number of slots per boat that sailors earned at the 2014 IFDS Sailing World Championships, and then a similar process with the 2015 Combined World Championships. Qualification for sailing is done. People who finished last or second to last at the world championships in 2015 managed qualify in at least one of the three boat classes qualified through. This highlights the lack of depth in sailing, and again goes to why they were removed from the 2020 Program.


Shooting had four direct qualifying events, and the qualifying period is basically done. This involved a world championship, and four World Cup events. I believe each event had 1 to 4 spots available for qualification. Shooters also had to meet a minimum qualifying score, and if they otherwise qualified but not with score, their spot was reallocated to another event where the minimum qualifying score was earned by a shooter. This was more common among shooting events for women.


The top two finishers in each Rio medal event at the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships earned a qualifying spot for their country for Rio. 185 spots for men and 175 spots for women are based on meeting minimum qualifying times at IPC recognized events. How they get divided then depends on complicated formulas to determine who goes to Rio. Bipartite Commission Invitation Allocation can also give spots.

Wheechair basketball

The qualification for wheelchair basketball came via the World Championships, and regional qualifiers. I believe all qualifying spots have been earned as of late 2015.

Laura Hale
About Laura Hale (2569 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. She has a PhD in Communications from the University of Canberra.

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