Para ath­letes’ com­pe­ti­tion cat­e­gories

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - People -

ALL sport­ing events in the 9th Asean Para Games fol­low a sys­tem which en­sures that win­ning is de­ter­mined by ath­letes’ skill, fit­ness, power, en­durance, tac­ti­cal abil­ity and men­tal fo­cus. These same fac­tors are also used in sport­ing events in­volv­ing able-bod­ied ath­letes.

Ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­na­tional Par­a­lympic Com­mit­tee (IPC), the pur­pose of this clas­si­fi­ca­tion is to “min­imise the im­pact of im­pair­ment on the ac­tiv­ity (sport dis­ci­pline)”. Hav­ing an im­pair­ment is not suf­fi­cient as the im­pact of the im­pair­ment on the sport must be proven.

Clas­si­fi­ca­tion is also sport-spe­cific as an ath­lete’s im­pair­ment af­fects the abil­ity to per­form in dif­fer­ent events to a dif­fer­ent de­gree. In swim­ming, ath­letes are di­vided into sev­eral sport classes. World Para Swim­ming caters for three im­pair­ment groups – physivi­sual cal, and in­tel­lec­tual. The Asean Para Games fol­lows this clas­si­fi­ca­tion.

The Sport Class names in swim­ming in­cludes a pre­fix that stands for the swim­ming strokes/styles, fol­lowed by a num­ber. The pre­fix “S” rep­re­sents freestyle, but­ter­fly and back­stroke while “SB” stands for breast­stroke.

Sport Classes: S1 to S10, phys­i­cal im­pair­ment

There are 10 dif­fer­ent sport classes in this group. A lower num­ber in­di­cates a more se­vere ac­tiv­ity lim­i­ta­tion.

To eval­u­ate the im­pact of im­pair­ments on swim­ming, clas­si­fiers as­sess all func­tional body struc­tures us­ing a point sys­tem and ask ath­letes to com­plete a water as­sess­ment prior to the Games.

The to­tal num­ber of points de­ter­mines an ath­lete’s S and SB sport classes.

S1, SB1

Swim­mers in this sport class have a sig­nif­i­cant loss of mus­cle power or con­trol in legs, arms and hands; some have limited trunk con­trol. Usu­ally wheel­chair-bound.

S2, SB1

Swim­mers mainly rely on their arms for swim­ming; hand, trunk and leg func­tion is limited.

S3, SB2

In­cludes ath­letes with am­pu­ta­tions of both arms and legs. Also in­cludes those with rea­son­able arm strokes but no use of their legs or trunk, and swim­mers with se­vere co-or­di­na­tion prob­lems in all limbs.

S4, SB3

Swim­mers who can use their arms and have fair func­tion in their hands, but who can­not use their trunk or legs. Also in­cludes ath­letes with am­pu­ta­tions of three limbs.

S5, SB4

Swim­mers with short stature and an ad­di­tional im­pair­ment, with loss of con­trol over one side of their body or with para­ple­gia.

S6, SB5

In­cludes swim­mers with short stature or am­pu­ta­tions of both arms, or mod­er­ate co-or­di­na­tion prob­lems on one side of their body, for ex­am­ple.

S7, SB6

Swim­mers with one leg and one arm am­pu­ta­tion on op­po­site sides, or a paral­y­sis of one arm and one leg on the same side. Those with full con­trol over arms and trunk and some leg func­tion can com­pete in this class, too. S8, SB7

Swim­mers who have an am­pu­ta­tion of one arm, as well as ath­letes with sig­nif­i­cant re­stric­tions across hip,

knee and an­kle joints. Malaysian swim­mer Car­men Lim com­petes in this class. S9, SB8 Ath­letes swim with joint re­stric­tions in one leg or with dou­ble be­low-theknee am­pu­ta­tions. S10, SB9 This class de­scribes min­i­mal phys­i­cal im­pair­ments of el­i­gi­ble swim­mers. These in­clude the loss of one hand or a move­ment re­stric­tion in one hip joint.

Sport Classes: S/SB11 to 13, visual im­pair­ment

S/SB11: These ath­letes have a very low visual acu­ity and/or no light per­cep­tion.

S/SB12: Ath­letes have a higher visual acu­ity than ath­letes com­pet­ing in the S/SB11 sport class and/or a visual field of less than 5˚ ra­dius.

S/SB13: Ath­letes have the least se­vere visual im­pair­ment el­i­gi­ble for Par­a­lympic sport. They have the high­est visual acu­ity and/or a visual field of less than 20˚ ra­dius. To en­sure fair com­pe­ti­tion, ath­letes in the S/SB11 sport class are re­quired to wear black­ened gog­gles. For the S/ SB11 class, swim­mers must use a tap­per; swim­mers in the S/SB12 and S/ SB13 sport classes may choose whether or not they wish to use one.

Sport Classes: S/SB14 in­tel­lec­tual im­pair­ment

Swim­mers have an in­tel­lec­tual im­pair­ment. Ath­letes have dif­fi­cul­ties with re­gards to pat­tern recog­ni­tion, se­quenc­ing, and mem­ory, or hav­ing a slower re­ac­tion time, which im­pact on sport per­for­mance in gen­eral.

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