Beijing to Birmingham: Thinking outside the Para sport classification box

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December 6, 2021

Nancy Quinn and team, write a blog about Para sport and the current classification system amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

Below is an exert of their blog titled Beijing to Birmingham: Thinking outside the Para sport classification box by Nancy Quinn, Laura Misener, Ayham Yasein and Dennis Osei-Nimo Annor

The Tokyo 2020 Summer Paralympic Games are in the books, with the 2022 Winter Paralympic Games (Beijing) and Commonwealth Games (Birmingham) just around the corner. Our 128 Canadian Paralympians competed in Tokyo, bringing home 21 medals. Canada’s team joined 4,275 high performance Para sport athletes from 62 countries for 12 days of competition in 22 Paralympic sports.

Despite the unprecedented challenge of hosting these Games during a global pandemic, the Tokyo Paralympic Games were hailed as a successOpens in a new window. However, many Paralympic athletes experienced uncertainty about their participation at the Games. If these Games hadn’t been controversial enough, some Paralympic athletes weren’t classified yet as they boarded their flights to Tokyo.

ClassificationOpens in a new window is mandatory for an athlete to compete in Para sport competition. Classification informs athlete preparation and development and has a material impact on competitive success. It determines which athletes are eligible to compete in a sport and how athletes are grouped together for competition.

This blog describes the classification process and explains how the COVID‑19 pandemic disrupted classification for Para sport competition. It also discusses how the pandemic exposed and worsened existing constraints in the classification process, limiting equitable access to Para sport classification and competition. Finally, it highlights opportunities to do classification differently, during and in a post-pandemic world, with the promise of improving access to classification and enhancing Para sport participation globally.

For the rest of the blog visit