An important meeting has taken place in Bonn, Germany this week as the World Para Swimming Classification Advisory Group (CAG) wrapped up their meeting on Thursday. The meeting focused on developing a stronger assessment of the technical side of swimming classification, where the swimmers go through a test in the pool which is known as the ‘water test’. These protocols will now be sent to World Para Swimming, and then be tested ahead of implementation in 2018.
The move comes after the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) released a new Athlete Classification Code and international Standards last year, requiring all Para sports to comply by January 2018. The CAG has advised World Para Swimming to introduce the new criteria discussed in Bonn for the World Series this year, with the first event due next month.
The classification in swimming has been under scrutiny in recent years after concerns over cheating in water tests. That meant that this work was largely already being considered by the CAG before the IPC Athlete Classification Code was introduced last year, making these meetings in Bonn a little easier.
“We had some very good discussions with the CAG and are pleased with the progress being made, especially with developing the technical component of classification.” Said the acting head of classification, Peter Van de Vilet in World Para Swimming in a statement, “We are working hard on many different areas of classification within Para swimming, from education and training for classifiers at a national and international level, to how the sport delivers and carries out classification.”
Also discussed in Bonn was the pathway for classifiers and the recertification of those classifiers already qualified for the role. That resulted in a decision to hold a meeting with classifiers at the end of the year to recertify those that already exist. Also discussed was the ongoing research in to the impairment classification systems, while looking at further research options.