Samuda Welcomes IPC's Decision to Hold Classification in Tokyo
President of the Jamaica Paralympic Association, Christopher Samuda, has welcomed the recent decision of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to permit athletes in ten sports to be classified at this summer's Tokyo Paralympic Games which temporarily reverses its "zero classification" policy which was instituted in 2014 barring classification at the games.
President Samuda in commending the world governing body stated "that the IPC, yet again, is responding sensitively and practically to the realities and in so doing is exemplifying the equitable principles of sport of fairness and equality of access."
The ten sports in which athletes will be classified in Tokyo are athletics, rowing, sitting volleyball, boccia, canoeing, cycling, judo, swimming, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis.
With the advent of the Coronavirus pandemic and resultant challenges in attending qualifying events at which classification exercises would be held, President Samuda articulates what arguably is the position of many National Paralympic Committees worldwide: "the world sporting community is battling the adversities of the pandemic which have disenfranchised athletes of their right to compete and excel and therefore local, regional and international governing bodies must respond assertively in negating doubts, in restoring hope and in creating options and additional opportunities for athletes to realise sporting excellence."
National Paralympic Committees are, however, still being encouraged to have their athletes classified before the Tokyo games and President Samuda hopes that consideration, in the current viral climate, will be given to "staging classification exercises in as many disciplines as is possible and in geographical areas that allow for cost-efficient access given prevailing travel restrictions, increased travel costs and normal visa requirements."
Classification is the bedrock of Para Sports as it determines eligibility of an athlete to compete in a particular sport and places the athlete in a designated class having regard to the nature and extent of his or her impairment.
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