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Classification & Sport Classes

Classification in Para sports is individually governed by each International Sport Federation in the Paralympic Movement, within the framework of the IPC Athlete Classification Code and International Standards. 

Classification systems differ from sport by sport. This is because an Eligible Impairment, its severity and location may cause relatively little impact on one sport and a significant impact on another, depending on the activity performed in each sport. 

Classification must be done prior to competitionso that athletes can be placed in a sport class or group for competition. The classification process allows athletes to be placed in a class to compete in a tournament.

During the classification process, the player is allocated a Sports Class. Players are also allocated a Sport Class Status (which indicates when players should be evaluated and how their Sport Class may be challenged).

The Classification Regulations provide a framework within which the process of classification takes place.

The Minimal Impairment Criteria for each of the Sport Classes is described in the Classification Regulations.

The BWF Para badminton Classification system has the following Sport Classes:

1995 – 2011

Over the years, there have been repeated requests from the member countries that more severely injured athletes are treated unfairly in the respective classes and that there should therefore be additional classes for these athletes. These requests were then mostly agreed to and there were more classes from year to year.

1995

  • Sitting
  • Wheelchair Class 1 – disability of trunk function
  • Wheelchair Class 2 – non-disability of trunk functions
  • Standing Class 1 – above body disability
  • Standing Class 2 – below body


2004

  • BMW1 (Wheelchair Class 1)
  • BMW2 (Wheelchair Class 2)
  • BMW3 (Wheelchair Class 3)
  • BMSTL1 (Standing Below Waist Class 1)
  • BMSTL2 (Standing Below Waist Class 2)
  • BMSTL3 (Standing Below Waist Class 3)
  • BMSTU4 (Standing Above Waist Class 1)
  • BMSTU5 (Standing Above Waist Class 2)
  • BMDST6 (Dwarfs)


2008

  • W1 (Wheelchair Class 1)
  • W2 (Wheelchair Class 2)
  • W3 (Wheelchair Class 3)
  • STL1 (Standing Below Waist Class 1)
  • STL2a (Standing Below Waist Class 2a)
  • STL2 (Standing Below Waist Class 2)
  • STL3a (Standing Below Waist Class 3a)
  • STL3 (Standing Below Waist Class 3)
  • STU4 (Standing Above Waist Class 1)
  • STU5 (Standing Above Waist Class 2)
  • DST6 (Dwarfs Class 1)
  • DST7 (Dwarfs Class 2)


Many classes have the advantage that the athletes feel they are treated more fairly. However, the consequence of this was that there were no longer enough athletes per sports class because of the many sports classes. Therefore, different classes had to be combined again and again in order to play a competition. Thus, sometimes the athletes played in their assigned class (= correct class), sometimes they had to play in the less impaired class (= big disadvantages because they are more impaired) and sometimes they were allowed to play in a more impaired class (= big advantages because they are less impaired, whereby the fairness aspect fell by the wayside.

Other disadvantages of this system were:

  • No «clean» ranking, as the games were always played in different combined sports classes.
  • little chance to recommend themselves for the Paralympics with so many classes.

Even before the integration of IBAD/PBWF into BWF, it was therefore decided to revise the entire classification system and to reduce the number of sports classes.

2012 – today

At the PBWF General Assembly on 3 June 2011 in Dortmund / Germany, the newly revised classification system was presented by Dr. Silvia Albrecht / Switzerland and Jim Mackay / Wales. This provides for only six classes instead of twelve.

After the adoption of the classification system, all athletes had to be reclassified.

Athletes must be assigned to one of six sport classes. These ensure that athletes are able to compete with other athletes with similar impairments depending on their physical disability and guarantee fairness in para-badminton.

WH1 (Wheelchair 1) The athletes require a wheelchair and usually have an impairment in both lower limbs and trunk function.
Trunk stability: weak to poor.
WH2 (Wheelchair 2) The athletes play in a wheelchair. They have an impairment of one or both legs and minimal or no impairment of the trunk.
Trunk stability: normal.
SL3 (Standing Lower 3) The athletes play standing. They have an impairment in one or both lower limbs and poor walking/running balance.
SL4 (Standing Lower 4) A second standing class where the athletes have a lesser impairment compared to the sports class SL3. They have impairment in one or both lower limbs and minimal impairment in walking/running balance.
SU5 (Standing Upper 5) The athletes play standing and have an impairment of the upper limbs.
SH6 (Short Stature 6) These are athletes who have a short stature due to a genetic condition often referred to as “dwarfism”.
The latest classification documents are published on the BWF website.
 

Classifiers since IBAD (alphabetical order)

xxxx – today Dr Ahmed Reda Mahmoud / Egypt
xxxx – today Amaya Iribarren / Canada
xxxx – today Dr Bang Heui Je / South Korea
2024 – today Barbara Oliveira / Brazil
1995 – 2011 Dr Jim MacKay / Wales
xxxx – today Jose Maria Lopez / Spain
xxxx – today Dr Kingsley Metu / Nigeria
xxxx – today Dr Komwudh Konchalard / Thailand
xxxx – 2023 Martin Plegt / Netherland
xxxx – today Naoki Tonegawa / Japan
xxxx – today Nevin Aysel Guzel / Turkey
xxxx – today Rebecca Bailey / England
xxxx – today Dr Rochelle Malleta / Philippines
xxxx – today Dr Shamsul Azhar Shah / Malaysia
xxxx – 2020 Dr Silvia Albrecht / Switzerland
xxxx – today Dr Syamsul Rizal Abu Amin / Malaysia
xxxx – today Dr Phitsanu Suntornpiyapan / Thailand
xxxx – today Tatiana Merino / Chile
xxxx – today Vivian Maria Salazar Casasola / Guatemala
xxxx – today Those who have stepped down and new once are still missing