What is Classification?

Para sport is sport within the Paralympic Movement for people with a disability. Athletes competing in Para sport have a health condition that presents as an impairment and leads to a competitive disadvantage in sport.

Classification is integral to Para sport as it provides a structure for fair and equitable competition within the Paralympic Movement. 
It groups athletes with disabilities into sports classes, according to how much their impairment affects their ability to carry out the fundamental activities in a specific sport. 

The purpose of classification is to define who competes in Para sport and to ensure that the impact of impairment in each event is minimized. 

Classification ensures the success of an athlete is determined by skill, fitness, power, endurance, tactical ability and mental focus.

All Para athletes wishing to compete in Para sport must have a sports specific class.

Classification is sport-specific because impairment affects the ability to perform in different sports to a different extent. As a consequence, a Para athlete may meet the criteria in one sport, but may not meet the criteria in another sport.

For further information on Classification please contact the Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) Classification Manager, Marguerite Christophers, on [email protected] or 021 746 727.

More resources to assist your understanding

Guide to classification

IPC Athlete Classification Code

PNZ Athlete Classification Code