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Disability sport classification

To participate in disability sport at an elite level, you need to go through a classification process.

Classification is based on a person's functional ability to participate in a sport, and helps decide your eligibility to compete in regional, state, national and international competitions.

Classification helps make sure athletes of similar abilities compete against one another. Classification is different for each sport and can be quite involved—start the process as early in your sporting career as you can.

The classification process

Classifcation is run by trained classifiers who can apply the guidelines and processes for classification on a sport-by-sport basis. They usually have either medical experience or are technical experts in their sport (such as coaches or former athletes).

The Australian Paralympic Committee, working with national sports organisations, is responsible for training classifiers.

Classifiers carry out a series of tests to establish whether an athlete meets the relevant criteria, including:

  • assessing an athlete's minimum impairment
  • observing them as they participate in their sport to establish the ideal classification group for them to compete in.

Organisations that coordinate classification

The following organisations coordinate classification for sports in Queensland:

Athletes with a physical disability: all sports except swimming

Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association

Phone:
(07) 3253 3333
Email:
Website:
www.sportingwheelies.org.au/

Athletes with a physical disability: swimming 

Swimming Queensland

Phone:
(07) 3823 4109
Email:
Website:
www.qld.swimming.org.au/

Athletes with a vision impairment: Paralympic sports (athletics, cycling, goalball, swimming)

Australian Paralympic Committee–Queensland branch

Phone:
(07) 3551 1705
Email:

Athletes with a vision impairment: non-Paralympic sports (eg. tenpin bowling, lawn bowls, golf)

Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association

Phone:
(07) 3253 3333
Email:
Website:
www.sportingwheelies.org.au/

Athletes with an intellectual disability: all sports

Life Stream Australia

Phone:
(07) 3394 4399
Email:
Website:
www.lifestream.org.au/

The Australian Paralympic Committee can help with understanding classification.