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 kind of medical conditions or impairments can compete?
To be able to compete as a para athlete, the athlete must have one of the following eligible impairments that are permanent in nature:
- Impaired muscle power
- Impaired passive range of movement
- Loss of limb or limb deficiency
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 one of the following criteria must be met:
- a minimal functional score loss of 25 points in the arms OR 25 points in the legs
- amputation of the arm above the wrist level
- amputation of the leg above ankle level
- complete spinal cord lesion.
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 generally compete standing, and may use a stool or chair with their feet on the ground. A functional loss of 25 points in the upper limbs OR lower limbs is required. Amputee athletes may also compete in this class.
W2 athletes compete sitting in a wheelchair. On functional assessment W2 athletes require a loss of 50 points in the lower limbs.
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 at least 3 of their limbs and the trunk. On functional assessment their impairments must comprise a minimal loss of 85 points as follows:
- loss of 50 points in the lower limbs (as per W2), and
- loss of 25 points in the upper limbs, and
- loss of 10 points in the trunk.
All W1 athletes compete in a wheelchair
W1M – W1 Men (John Cavanagh GB)
What if I cannot classify as a para-archer?
If an athlete does not fulfil 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, eg. 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 at: https://documents.worldarchery.org/Para/Forms/Para_Athlete_Medical_Form.docx
For more information see the Australian Paralympic Committee info sheet regarding classification: https://www.paralympic.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Para-Archery-Classification-Information-Sheet-updated-nov-2019.pdf
Currently, there are 3 Australian National Classifiers located in Australia and should you have any questions for the classifiers regarding classification or regarding assisted device queries please email Archery Australia: firstname.lastname@example.org