IBSA Classification Rules 2018
IBSA Medical Diagnostics Form
IBSA classification protest form
IBSA reclassification request form
IBSA Classification Manual for organisers of sanctioned competitions
Classification manual for IBSA member organisations
Classification manual for classifiers
Classification master lists for each of IBSA's sports are available on the 'General documents' section of each sport. Click on the links below to go to the page for each sport:
Classification provides a structure for competition. Classification is undertaken to ensure that the athlete competes equitably with other athletes.
Classification has two important roles:
• to determine eligibility to compete;
• to group athletes for competition.
Classification provides a systematic method for grouping athletes, according to their visual abilities, into "classes" which act as the framework for competition.
Prior to competing in IBSA-sanctioned continental or world championships, athletes must undergo classification, carried out by an international VI classification panel.
It should be noted that the IBSA Classification Rules and Procedures relate only to those sports governed by IBSA. For sports that are governed by other international federations (IFs), the classification rules of the relevant IF will apply.
It is required, as a condition of membership of IPC, that IFs develop and implement classification rules in accordance with the current IPC classification code. IBSA is eager to interact with IFs that have athletes who are blind or partially sighted, to ensure equitable competition between those athletes.
Article on an expert consensus regarding evidence-based classification for Paralympic athletes with VI, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
IBSA VI classifiers
Classification at world and regional level may only be conducted by “VI international classifiers”. IBSA is fortunate to have at its disposal a pool of expert “VI international classifiers”, all of whom have been certified jointly by IBSA and IPC.
In order to become a “VI international classifier”, potential classifiers (either ophthalmologist or optometrist) must graduate from a classifier certification course approved by IBSA and IPC.
A list of IBSA certified international classifiers is available here
in the IBSA Documents section on this web site.
Vision impairment arises for a variety of reasons - genetics, prenatal developmental issues, or from illness or trauma.
Vision impairment occurs when there is damage to one or more of the components of the vision system, which can include:
• impairment of the eye structure/receptors
• impairment of the optic nerve/optic pathways
• impairment of the visual cortex
Athletes are required to forward a fully completed Medical Diagnostics Form
in advance of classification; athletes who do not present a fully completed form risk not being classified.
Definition of Visual Classes
The determination of visual class will be based upon the eye with better visual acuity, whilst wearing best optical correction using spectacles or contact lenses, and/or visual fields which include central and peripheral zones. Currently the classification structure is not yet sport specific. IBSA has funded several research projects to develop sport specific classification in the near future.
The current divisioning is:
Visual acuity lower than LogMAR 2.6.
Visual acuity ranging from LogMAR 1.5 to 2.6 (inclusive)
and/or visual field constricted to a diameter of less than 10 degrees.
Visual acuity ranging from LogMAR 1.4 to 1.0 (inclusive) and/or visual field constricted to a diameter of less than 40 degrees.
The athlete must appear for classification at the appointed time, prepared to be fully assessed by the classification panel, with their passport as evidence for identification purposes.
• Athletes must sign the Consent to be Classified Form prior to classification.
• The athlete’s photograph may be taken for classification education purposes.
• If the athlete has a health condition that will impair their ability to be classified, the chief classifier may, at his or her discretion and time permitting, re-schedule the evaluation. Ultimately, if the athlete does not have a sport class and a sport class status they will not be eligible to compete at the competition.
• Athletes may appoint one person to accompany them during classification. This person should have an understanding of the athlete’s impairment and sport performance. If required, that person may be asked by the classifiers to assist with communication.
• Should the athlete require the presence of a translator, such individual (provided by the athlete) will also be permitted to attend.
Sport Class Status
The purpose of the sport class status model is to assist classifiers to identify those athletes whose visual ability is consistent over time, and those whose visual ability may change over time. As a result, the following statuses have been established, informed by the above factors:
Confirmed is a designated status for athletes who have completed a VI international classification evaluation. Confirmed status implies that the athlete’s visual ability is not likely to change over time. This status will be assigned to athletes with a permanent, unchangeable condition.
Review is a classification status for athletes who require:
a. Re-evaluation; or
b. Have a fluctuating or changing condition that affects their vision, requiring them to be re-assessed at a later stage. If their vision does not change significantly after a prolonged period, and their sight class does not change, the athlete may be assigned confirmed status.
c. Are assessed for the first time as a new (N) athlete. However, if, in the opinion of the classification panel, the eye condition of a new (N) athlete will not change over time, they may be assigned the status of Confirmed (C).
If the status of review is assigned, the athlete may compete at the event where the classification took place; however, they must be reassessed before the next competition in which they are entered to compete.
Where an athlete is assigned Review with a year (e.g. Review 2015), it means they must be reassessed at their first event in that calendar year.
Review (R) status may be assigned to athletes whose diagnosis has not been proven by the evaluation process. In such cases, the athlete will be expected to present the results of further diagnostic tests (e.g. electrophysiology; visual fields; computer tomography), before the next classification opportunity for a sport class status to be assigned. Once the diagnosis has been verified, further re-evaluation may be necessary in order to verify stability of the condition.
Review status is assigned at the discretion of the classification panel, depending on fluctuating or variable conditions.
New status is assigned to athletes who have never been Classified before.
Not Eligible - visual acuity better than LogMAR 1.0 and visual field diameter equal to, or greater than, 40 degrees.
This class is assigned to an athlete who does not meet the minimum visual impairment criteria. NE athletes are not permitted to compete in IBSA-sanctioned competitions.
Athletes with a degenerative condition, and who do not currently meet the eligibility criteria, may do so at a future date. It is the responsibility of the relevant IBSA member, NPC or IF to provide medical documentation showing a change in the level of vision of the athlete and to submit a request for the athlete to be re-evaluated subsequently.
When a sport class status of Not Eligible is assigned to an athlete by a classification panel, the athlete will be required to undergo evaluation by a second classification panel. Should that classification panel confirm the original status (NE), the athlete will not be permitted to compete at that competition and will have no further opportunity to protest; the verdict of the second classification panel is final.
It is very important to note that, should an athlete be deemed ineligible for competition under the IBSA classification rules, this does not question the presence of a genuine impairment. This is solely a ruling on the eligibility of the athlete to compete under the sport rules of IBSA, or of the relevant IF, where IBSA is providing classification for that IF.