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International Paralympics Committee Competition Rules Comments and Discussion led by David Weicker Acknowledgements to David Greig , Bruce Pirnie, Elaine Lake and Jennifer Campbell Brief History 1948 England: sports competition for soldiers with disabilities who returned from World War 2

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international paralympics committee

International Paralympics Committee

Competition Rules

Comments and Discussion led by David Weicker

Acknowledgements to David Greig , Bruce Pirnie, Elaine Lake and Jennifer Campbell

brief history
Brief History

1948 England: sports competition for soldiers with disabilities who returned from World War 2

1952 England vs. Netherlands

1960 1st Olympic style games held for athletes with a disability in Rome, Italy

1988 (Seoul) first time Paralympic Games were held in the same location as able bodied Games then Albertville 1992 (winter).

June 2001 IOC and IPC (IOSDS) signed a formal agreement to implement Paralympics after Olympic games in same city. (International Organizations of Specific Disability Sports)

paralympic classifications

Classifications for Track and Field

Visually Impaired - T/F 11, 12, 13

Cerebral Palsy T/F - 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38

Ambulatory Athletes - T/F 42, 43, 44, 45, 46

Wheelchair Athletes (with various levels of spinal cord injury and amputations) T/F 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55

Athletes with Developmental Disabilities T/F 20 (IQ score 70 or less)

Dwarf T/F 40

classification id

Each classification has two numbers after the letter

T (for track) or F (for field):

first number determines the classification

second number determines the level of ability within the classification.

Visually Impaired:

T 11 - totally blind run with a guide (No usable vision)

T 12 - blind but has the option of having a guide (Low vision)

T 13 - blind but runs on their own (Visually Impaired)

Cerebral Palsy:

T / F 32-34 - cerebral palsy in wheelchair

T / F 35-38 - cerebral palsy but can stand (ambulatory)

classification categories

Amputee: Athletes with a partial or total loss of at least one limb.

Visually Impaired: Athletes with vision impairment ranging from partial vision, sufficient to be judged legally blind, to total blindness. (in T11 athletes wear opaque glasses)

Cerebral Palsy: Athletes with non-progressive brain damage, for example cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, stroke or similar disabilities affecting muscle control, balance or coordination.

Spinal cord injury: Athletes with disabilities which require them to compete in a wheelchair.

Les Autres: Athletes with a physical disability that does not fall strictly under one of the other 6 categories, such as dysmelia, arthrogryposis, multiple sclerosis or congenital deformities of the limbs such as that caused by thalidomide.


classifications more info

IPC Athletics Classification Manual for Physical Impairments 2008-2010 - for more information:


Classification is a three stage process done by medical staff called classifiers (not up to us as officials at the start line or field site)


Stage 1 – Examination: assessment of impairment, novel motor tasks and movements that are closely related to the sport.

Stage 2 – Sport Specific Assessment: observation and assessment of the athlete performing the event/s that he/she is entered in during training sessions / practices.

Stage 3 – During Competition: observation and assessment of sport specific motor tasks while competing.

  • Call Room (measurements and other rules)
  • Track rules
  • Field rules
call room wheelchairs
CALL ROOM: Wheelchairs

Inspections and Measurements

wheelchairs call room

Measurements and inspections take place without the athlete in wheelchair

2 Large wheels: maximum diameter including the inflated tire shall not exceed 70 cm per wheel

Small wheel: maximum diameter including the inflated tire shall not exceed 50 cm

No part of chair may protrude behind the vertical plane (back tyres)

Only hand operated mechanical steering devices allowed

Strapping: non-elastic material and attached to chair

No mirrors

Athlete must demonstrate turning and braking (this is done with athlete in the chair!)

Speedometers (?)

call room throwing chairs
CALL ROOM: Throwing Chairs

Inspections and Measurements

call room throwing chairs13
CALL ROOM: Throwing Chairs

Inspections and Measurements taken without the athlete in the chair

Maximum height of throwing frame, including cushions used as a seat shall not exceed 75cm

All parts of the frame must be fixed with no flexible or articulating joints

Frame may have a “holding bar” but it must not have any articulation or joints

call room blind athletes15
CALL ROOM: Blind Athletes

Opaque glasses: athletes in sport class T/F 11.

Escorts / guide runners are permitted but must wear a distinctively coloured vest (provided by Org.)

Heat sheets to indicate deaf/blind athletes

Forms for assistance (eg. To help set blocks or to mark the runway for jumps, etc.) must be submitted or be available to the call room

call room other items
CALL ROOM: Other items

Competition clothing must be close fitting. (IAAF Rules)

Wearing of helmets is COMPULSORY in all individual & team track races of 800m and longer, 4 x 400 m relay and all road races.

Races where athletes stay in their lanes

helmets do not have to be worn.

Need to know rules for relays/exchanges


Athlete wears a

prosthetic or orthotic


Measured in Call Room

to ensure leg(s) of equal


oscar pistorius
Oscar Pistorius

Nickname the “Blade Runner”

Double amputee

Cheetahs – J shaped blades

Cleared for 2012 Olympics

Debate: prosthetics (technology) vs. natural legs


Track rules

  • Starters
  • Starters Assistants
  • Track Referee/Umpires/Judges
  • Specific rules for Relay events

Track rules – Starters

  • For wheelchair races, no part of front wheel can touch the start line and all wheels must be in contact with the ground
  • Use “wheel back” not “stand up”
  • Can stop the race in the first 50m in 1500m or longer
  • Officials can rule on safety of wheelchairs (normally the Technical Delegate)
  • No delays for equipment malfunction
  • 4-point stanch is NOT required for Cerebral Palsy T35-38 or T42-46
  • Arm amputees may use pads to rest stumps
  • For “deaf” athletes may need flags (checkered or ?)

Track rules – Starters Assistants

  • Helmets must be worn in races of 800m and longer plus 4x400
  • Bib numbers on side of helmet for photo (eg. As hip numbers) for events 400 and above
  • One bib number on back of chair
  • No urine – automatic disqualification
  • May allow a lap for wheelchair athletes to set their compensators
  • Guides for blind athletes must wear a vest; guides can give verbal advice and the choice of (which of two assigned lanes) is up to athlete and guide
  • Deaf athletes are normally assigned an outside lane and flags, strobe or other visual devices may be used to assist with the start

Track rules – Track Referee/Umpires/Judges

  • On recalled race Track Referee can take appropriate action on reports received (eg. What caused the problem for the recall)
  • Generally the rules are the same with some exceptions
  • No urine – automatic disqualification
  • Guide and athlete are allotted two lanes
  • Method: choice by athlete of elbow lead, tether or free run
  • Both must finish as a team
  • Guide must not push or pull athlete
  • Distance of no more than .5m apart with/without tether; in last 10m of an event the distance can be greater
  • Guide must finish behind the athlete

T 11 - athletes must wear approved opaque glasses in all track and field events (F 11).

Note: Starting blocks



No glasses

Can run on either

side. Recommended

for the longer races

that the blind athlete

runs in the inner lane

to reduce the distance.


Track rules – Track Referee/Umpires/Judges

  • For races further than 400m two guides are allowed BUT only one exchange is permitted (only on the straight stretch)…if planned, the Technical Delegate and/or Track Referee must be notified
  • Athletes in T42/43/44 shall use leg prosthesis (running events) NO hopping is allowed in other events (field) prosthesis usage is optional
  • In events of 1500m or longer, officials may conclude the event after an agreed time limit (DNF for those who didn’t finish)
  • Guides and Athletes are a team – if either breaks a rule...
  • No urine is allowed to drain onto the competition or warm-up site

Track rules – Track Referee/Umpires/Judges

  • For wheelchair races the finish order is determined by the order in which the hub of the leading wheel reaches the vertical plane of the nearer edge of the finish line
  • In T32 to 34 and T51 to 54 athletes overtaking carry the responsibility for ensuring full clearance of the chair of the person before cutting in
  • Only means of propulsion is by pushing on the wheels or hand rims otherwise DQ

Track rules – relay races

  • Relays (with batons – T32 to 34 and T51 to 54)
    • Each team shall be allocated 2 adjacent lanes
    • Lane markings shall be extended using same colour as exisiting lane markings
    • Take over shall be a touch on any part of the body of the outgoing competitor but the first touch shall be within the take over zone.
  • Relays (without batons – T11 to 13)
    • Can be either between the guides or athletes without restriction except guide must be behind the moment they enter the exchange zone and they must both be in the exchange zone when the baton is exchanged
    • For T12 one guide per exchange zone is allowed
    • Helps with the positioning of athletes intending on running without a guide – cannot interfere with the race
track events

Officials must be very aware of their positioning

around the track.

Does take some time to get use to all the different classifications and IPC rules – get a rule book.

Crash on the track, no assistance should be given

until the okay to do so.

rules field events


Shot Put


High Jump

Long Jump

Triple Jump



Standard vectors etc.

Top – Discus circle

Tie down rails

Bottom - Shot Put circle

throws chairs

All parts of the frame and footrests must remain inside the vertical plane of the rim of the circle.

3 or 6 throws are consecutive. Each throw is measured. If major competition, reverse order for last 3 throws (this may change!).

Setting up chair: 2 minutes for F 32 – 34 and F 54 – 58; 3 minutes for F 51 – 53. TD official oversees set ups so there are no unnecessary delays by athletes.

Acoustic orientation is allowed by one escort (caller) per athlete. Must wear approved distinctive coloured vest.

stabilizing chairs tie down throw set up

Throwing chairs will vary in design. Each chair is designed with the athletes body in mind

No event shall be delayed while a competitor makes adjustments to his/her chair

Maximum height of a throwing frame, including seat cushion, shall not exceed 75 cm

All parts of the frame must be fixed

Strapping must be of non-elastic material which is attached to the chair


of chairs that

are tied down.

tie down equipment

Tie-down rails: L shaped iron with holes stamped in 12 ‘’ intervals on the vertical side or U channel with pre cut holes or spikes

Ratchet straps (truck straps) with J hooks at both ends to secure chair to rails

Using tie down rails on grass will still need spikes to

anchor rails into the ground

Throw circles

What event is the top one: discus or shot?


Wheelchair tie

down: lock front

and back

All parts of

frame /wheelchair

must remain inside

the vertical

plane of the rim

of the circle.

shot put

Support hold bar / pole

One continuous motion

Support front bar / pole

Pole cannot pass vertical line of circle


Tie down ratchet system

Can start a throw or put

from a sitting position;

must keep one foot in

contact with the ground

inside circle

orientation and timing

Acoustic orientation by an escort is allowed during the approach run as long as they are not in a position to hinder the event

An escort may bring an athlete to the throwing circle or runway and it is the escorts responsibility to help the athlete orient him/herself before the attempt

Time clocks – time (clock or stopwatch) shall begin from the moment when the official is satisfied that the athlete has completed the orientation process

Athletes can ask for confirmation of start

Clock can stop and restart if athlete loses orientation

high jump

F11 athletes can touch bar as an aid to orientation before run up; while touching bar it falls off it does not count as an attempt

F12 may place an appropriate visual aid on the bar (white / red flag or even a handkerchief) Notice white tape on bar

horizontal jumps

Take off board for triple jump is normally set at 9m for women and 11m for men (minimum 9m for F11 and 11m for F12-13)

Cones help with identifying take off board as does a powdery substance (such as chalk, talcum powder, light sand or laundry detergent)

For F11 – 12 the distance jumped is measured from where the athlete leaves an impression in the takeoff area; if the athlete takes off before the take off area the jump is measured from the nearest edge of this area (take off)

horizontal jumps measurments

Take off area








If take off is before the board (a) measure from the beginning of the take off area

If take off is within the takeoff area and before the scratch line (b) measure from the take off point (b)

If take off is beyond the scratch line/board (c) no measurement


horizontal jumps45

Must know rules if prosthesis falls off – if in process of jump measure where it lands

If the prosthesis lands behind the closes mark in the landing area, but outside the landing area, it shall be counted as a foul

If it falls off during approach the athlete can adjust it and continue, as long as it is within the allowed time

technical delegate

Technical Delegate has the responsibility to oversee all areas of the competition:

Inspect Call Room and Call Room operations

Oversee that heats, finals are drawn correctly

Check results including knowing how to separate classifications when several classes have combined in a heat

Supervise / help with throws chairs, if required

Can inspect a frame / wheelchair at any time before or after an event

canadian ipc officials

With throw chair set up only the Technical Delegate, support person and athlete set up the frame. Officials are not to help unless qualified. Once chair is set up support person moves out.

(Bruce Pirnie and Elaine Lake)

At major competitions - normally a crew takes care of the set up of all throws chairs.

quick notes ipc rules
“Quick Notes” IPC Rules

“Quick Notes” revision done by event disciplines.

IPC rules must be read in conjunction with IAAF rules and regulations.

Athletics Canada: David Greig IPC


? ? ? ? ? ?

international paralympics committee52

International Paralympics Committee

Competition Rules

Comments and Discussion led by David Weicker

Acknowledgements to David Greig , Bruce Pirnie, Elaine Lake and Jennifer Campbell