Throughout 2016 the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has been looking in to misrepresentation by athletes. This came after allegations of intentional misrepresentation in swimming in the second half of 2015. After examining the case, the IPC has determined there is insufficient evidence to take those cases forward.
The IPC had a specific concern in swimming, where the IPC noticed 16 cases where athletes seemed to swim slower in classification swims than in competition. This led to questions of misrepresentation as those classification swims are used to place athletes in the relevant swimming classifications and thus create a level playing-field for all swimmers.
With such a serious concern of the sporting integrity of IPC Swimming all 16 cases were investigated thoroughly. Videos of competition and the classification record were viewed, and after looking at the evidence the IPC has decided to not proceed with any action.
The decision was explained by IPC CEO Xavier Gonzalez, who said in a statment “A standalone fluctuating race time does not mean that an athlete is intentionally misrepresenting skills or abilities, nor does it mean an athlete is in the wrong sport class. If it did, classification systems would unfairly disadvantage athletes who improve race times through hard work and intensive training.
“To date, the only credible evidence that has been uncovered in the past year concerns fluctuating race times. Consequently, and following our careful review, no cases of intentional misrepresentation have been initiated on the basis of athlete performances during 2015 competitions.”
Following the announcement in August 2015 that they would be investigating these swimming misrepresentation a number of requests flew in to the IPC to investigate athletes. These request crossed sports and countries with 80 athletes, 24 countries and six sports involved.
Each of those over 80 athletes has been investigated just as thoroughly with a large group of Classification specialists. The IPC brought in third party experts as well in an effort to make sure that no athlete was slipping through the cracks. But after the extensive research, no athletes were proven to have intentionally misrepresented their classification and as such no action on any athlete was taken.