What is Classification?

Athletes competing in disability sport need to be assessed in order to be “classified”

Athletes competing in disability sport need to be assessed in order to be “classified”. Athletes are then grouped together with athletes of a similar disability in their chosen sport. This is done to make sure that everyone is competing fairly and against other athletes with a similar disability.

Learning disability is a term used in the UK.  Intellectual disability (ID) and intellectual impairment (II), are terms used more recently and internationally.  All three refer to the same group of athletes.

Until 2017, there was just one classification group for athletes with intellectual disability.  Inas has now introduced two new trial classes

II2 – for athletes with additional impairment (includes Down syndrome)

II3 – for athletes with high functioning autism

Both trail classes are exclusive to Inas and are not on the para programme.  Please contact UKSA for further details of how these two new classes are being managed.

Once classified each athlete is given a classification number and will be allocated to a disability group. Examples of these groups for athletes with learning disability are:

  • Swimming – S14
  • Athletics (Track) – T20
  • Athletics (Field) – F20
  • Table Tennis – T11
  • Taekwondo (Poomsae) – P20
  • Cricket, Tennis, Football, Equestrian, Judo

There are two levels of classification used in Great Britain:

(1) UK (for competitions in the UK only)
(2) International (for INAS events and some other international events, including the Paralympic Games and IPC sanctioned events)

The UK Sports Association for People with Learning Disability (UKSA) leads and manages both levels of classification for all athletes, across the sports, from the UK.  Other partners, including National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGB’s) are involved, but the evaluation and management remains with UKSA.