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.

In learning disability there is just one classification group. To be classified as an athlete with learning disability (or intellectual disability as it is known internationally), the athlete must provide evidence to show that they are eligible.

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.