The International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) has released its third set of decisions from Phase-1 of the classification reassessment process.
The reassessment process was demanded of IWBF by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) as part of an agreed action plan for the sport of wheelchair basketball to stay part of the Paralympic movement and also remain on the programme for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
In Phase-1, all players who may have a chance of participating at Tokyo 2020 with sport classes 4.5 and 4.0 have had their eligibility reviewed to verify that they have an underlying health condition that leads to an eligible impairment according to the IPC Athlete Classification Code and the IPC’s International Standard for Eligible Impairments
During Phase-1, 132* players were reviewed, 119 were deemed eligible, 9 non-eligible and 4 cases remain open pending further information.
The players ruled non-eligible either do not meet the current IWBF Classification Regulations or they do not have a health condition considered eligible according to the IPC Athlete Classification Code and the IPC’s International Standard for Eligible Impairments.
IWBF President, Ulf Mehrens, said:
“IWBF understand the bearing this will have on any players who are ruled non-eligible. We are working with NOWB’s to support any player impacted by the reassessment process and put mechanisms in place that they can continue to play the game of wheelchair basketball.
“I would like to emphasise that a player who has been deemed non-eligible has not cheated the system or intentionally misrepresented in anyway.
“IWBF still fully believes in our classification philosophy and that the sport should be inclusive to anyone with an eligible lower limb impairment. The classification points system on which the game was built ensures all players have an equal right and opportunity to be an integral member of a team. However, as a member of the Paralympic movement and a signatory to the IPC code, IWBF must meet compliance in accordance with the demands of IPC which includes reflecting the IPC Athlete Classification Code and the IPC’s International Standard for Eligible Impairments.
“We will continue to investigate and raise the issues to the IPC membership surrounding the exclusion of certain health conditions and impairments in the IPC Code. We will urge and encourage that IPC and their membership take into account the scientific research that is already available around certain impairments and address this in the next review of the current IPC Code, which is set to take place in 2021.”
The second phase of the reassessment process is already underway and will see all other internationally classified wheelchair basketball players processed under the same procedure. It will be done in a staggered manner with the target to have all players reassessed by the end of 2020.
*Final figure changed from 134 – 132 as 2 players withdrew from the process.