In order to safeguard the integrity of fair competition, all Para sports have a system in place which aims to ensure that winning is determined by sporting factors such as skill, fitness, power, endurance, tactical ability and mental focus, the same factors that account for success in sport for able-bodied athletes.
This system is called classification.
Through classification, it is determined which athletes are eligible to compete in a sport and how those athletes are then grouped together for competition, in order to minimise the impact of those athletes’ impairments on sport performance.
Classification is sport-specific because an impairment affects the ability to perform in different sports to a different extent. As a consequence, an athlete may meet the criteria to compete in one sport, but may not meet the criteria in another sport. Having an impairment is thus not sufficient for an athlete to compete in Para sport.
The groupings of athletes by the degree of activity limitation resulting from their impairments are called ‘Sport Classes’. This, to a certain extent, is similar to grouping athletes by age, gender or weight.
The details of classification in Para Nordic are set out in the classification rules.
Athletes must have one of the eligible impairments and meet the minimum impairment criteria for the sport, as set out in those rules, in order to be eligible to compete.
All athletes in Para Nordic have one or more of the following impairments:
• Impaired Muscle Power
• Limb Deficiency
• Leg Length Difference
• Impaired Passive Range of Movement
• Vision Impairment
Athletes in Para Nordic are grouped into the following sport classes. The detailed sport class profiles are set out in classification rules.
SPORT CLASSES LW 2-9: STANDING SKIERS Lower limb impairments: Sport Class LW 2: Athletes have an impairment in one leg. Sport Class LW 3: Athletes have an impairment in both legs. Sport Class LW 4: Athletes have an impairment in one leg.
Upper limb impairments: Sport Class LW 5/7: Athletes have an impairment in both arms and compete without ski poles. Sport Class LW 6: Athletes have an impairment in one arm and compete with one ski pole. Sport Class LW 8: Athletes have an impairment in one arm and compete with one ski pole.
Combined upper and lower limb impairments: Sport Class LW 9: Skiers in this Sport Class have an impairment that affects arms and legs. Depending on the nature and degree of their activity limitation they compete with or two skis and one or two poles.
SPORT CLASSES LW 10-12: SIT-SKIERS Sport Classes LW 10-12: All sit-skiers have an impairment affecting their legs and compete in a seated position.
SPORT CLASSES B1-3: SKIERS WITH VISION IMPAIRMENT Sport Classes B 1-3: Athletes in these sport classes have vision impairment. Athletes with vision impairment ski with a guide, who verbally gives directions to the athlete