In November 2020, the General Assembly of the International Federation of Sport Climbing approved the IFSC Strategic Plan 2020-2028, presenting its vision, mission, and key objectives.
ROAD TO LOS ANGELES 2028
In the Strategic Plan, when presenting future developments, the IFSC included the following item:
Professionalise Paraclimbing to meet IPC standards and aim at its inclusion in future Paralympic Games editions, starting from Los Angeles 2028.
The objective was accompanied by a list of four sub-items:
The application deadline for the Paralympic Games Los Angeles 2028 is set in the fourth quarter of 2021, meaning that the required adjustments will have to be introduced, implemented, and optimised during the 2021 season.
The biggest gap between IPC standards and current IFSC Paraclimbing Rules is the classification: the Paraclimbing Committee is currently finalising a reviewed version of the IFSC Classification Rules and will introduce them at two seminars, to be held at the IFSC Paraclimbing World Cup competitions in Innsbruck (AUT) and in the United States of America.
The latest version of the IPC Classification Model Rules for Para Sports is available here.
2021 CLASSIFICATION RULES
When climbers apply for an IFSC Paraclimbing Athlete Licence, they will have to submit medical information, in English and in a standardised medical form signed by a medical doctor.
The form will request athletes to categorise their impairment in one or multiple of the following nine categories:
Other types of impairment are not eligible for competition or will not be taken into account for classification.
The International Standards for Eligible Impairments can be found here.
IPC standards also define intellectual impairment as an eligible impairment, but it is up to the single Para sport itself to exclude single categories of impairment. By allowing nine out of the 10 maximum categories, the IFSC matches the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) and the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) as the only Para sports to include nine categories. Only Athletics and Swimming allow 10.
2021 CLASSIFICATION PROCESS
The IFSC will request full medical documentation to all athletes requesting an IFSC Licence. Such medical documentation will be reviewed by a panel of classifiers in order to assign each athlete a Sport Class.
The Sport Class will have a Sport Class Status attached, which can be:
Note that every athlete requesting a Licence in the 2021 season will receive a Sport Class Status New as every athlete will need to go through the new classification process.
Additionally, two new Sport Classes are introduced:
Registrations for a Paraclimbing competition close six weeks before the first competition day. Once the deadline passes, the classification team will review all medical forms and check if additional information is required. In this case, the Athlete Licence will be pending the presentation of the additional documents. Such documents can only be presented through the IFSC Result System; no document sent via email will be considered.
By performing pre-checks on medical records, the classification team can approach the evaluation session more efficiently, also informing an athlete in advance if they are not eligible for the competition.
Only athletes with a C or FRD Sport Class Status are allowed to not attend the evaluation session, which is mandatory for athletes with an N or R status.
The session will include an interview of the athlete, and athletes with physical impairments will have to perform multiple tests before a Sport Class and Sport Class Status are assigned. Athletes with visual impairments will undergo an assessment with a licensed ophthalmologist to confirm the medical records they submitted in advance.
In competition, the IFSC will add a tracking code to those athletes that must undergo observationby the classification panel. Qualifications results will take a little bit longer to be elaborated, as judges and members of the classification panel will publish their results at the same time. Timing for appeals and protests will follow a new standard, more details can be found here.
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