Para Archery Classification

The classification system for Para archers is relatively complicated to ensure fairness across all competing athletes. Specially trained classifiers, who are all professional medical doctors or physiotherapists, form a classification panel to assess an athlete’s functional capabilities.

What are the Classes?

There are 2 functional classes for para archers:

Open (comprising ST and W2)

Athletes in the Open Class will have a disability affecting their upper OR lower limbs, with or without trunk impairment.

ST athletes compete standing, and may use a stool or chair with their feet on the ground.

W2 athletes compete sitting in a wheelchair.

ST and W2 athletes compete against each other as their functional abilities are similar.


RMO Recurve Men Open ST                  RMO Recurve Men Open W2

(Kyle Lyons-Clarkson AUS)                         (Kevin Faulkner AUS)


       CMO Compound Men Open W2                 CMO Compound Men Open ST

               (Jonathon Milne AUS)                                 (Matt Stutzman USA)

RWO Recurve Women Open ST

  (Milena Olszewska POL)


W1 Athletes have an impairment that affects their arms and legs with or without trunk impairment. Athletes in this class have a limitation in range of movement, muscle strength or co-ordination in one or both arms, or limb loss combined with:

  • Poor or non-existent muscle control affecting static balance in the trunk, and/or

  • Little to no function in the lower limbs (eg spinal cord injury or severe diplegia, double below knee amputation associated with hip fusion, or double above knee amputation).

All W1 athletes compete in a seated position.


                  W1M - W1 Men
             (John Cavanagh GB)

What kind of medical conditions or impairments can compete?

In general, the impairments can be grouped as follows:

A - Limb loss or deficiency - amputation from trauma, cancer, or limb deficiency from birth

The minimal requirement is amputation of the forearm above the wrist (no wrist joint present); or amputation into the lower third of the leg above the ankle (no ankle joint present)

B - Leg length difference – minimum 7cm leg length discrepancy

C - Spinal cord or nerve damage with muscle weakness - conditions as spinal cord injury, spina bifida, transverse myelitis, sacral agenesis, spinal tumours, and muscular dystrophy

D - Cerebral palsy, acquired brain injury or similar - stroke, brain tumour, multiple sclerosis, cerebellar ataxia, hereditary spastic paraparesis or any other condition where spasticity, ataxia or athetosis are present

E - Joint movement restrictions - arthrogryposis, talipes equinovarus, joint fusions

All athletes are subject to functional classification where a points system is used.  Points are allocated to each joint movement and are summed to provide a total functional score. The total score is 320 points :

              180 in the arms

              40 in the trunk

              100 in the lower limbs

To be classified as a Para athlete, a minimal functional score loss is required.

The minimal point loss is:

25 in the arms, or

20 in the trunk, or

25 in the lower limbs.

What if I cannot classify as a para-archer?

If an athlete does not fulfill the minimal requirements for competing in a para class, the athlete can continue competing against other able bodied archers.

The classification panel can also approve any special adaptive devices for use by the archer in able-bodied competition, e.g. a stool or a special release.

How do I prepare for classification?

To request a classification an athlete and their medical doctor (usually GP but sometimes specialist) must complete a formal classification request. 

This is usually done before a national or international event and MUST be submitted in advance of the event (often at least 1 month before the event).

The form is available CLICK HERE

For more information see the Australian Paralympic Committee info sheet regarding classification:CLICK HERE

Currently, there are 3 Australian National Classifiers:

Craig Glasby – Brisbane, QLD

Marinda Rothmann – Townsville, QLD

Marek Steiner – Sydney, NSW


To contact any of the classifiers regarding classification or assisted device queries please email the Para committee


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