The primary stage of the Minimum Impairment Criteria (MIC) Research Project, that IWBF has commissioned the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport at Loughborough University to undertake for them as part of their new Classification Rules, has been completed.

The research project, whose aim is to validate a new MIC for wheelchair basketball, has seen the highest ever response rate in a study regarding para-sport classification in the first round of the Delphi Study.

Forty-eight (48) participants responded to the invite to be part of the Expert Panel, with experts ranging across wheelchair basketball, sport science, medicine, and para-classification as well as covering all four zones.

Leading the Research Project on behalf of the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport at Loughborough University, who are renowned for their work in Paralympic sport and classification, Dr Michael Hutchinson, said:

“The response we have had from those invited to be part of the expert panel has been fantastic. We have ended up with a really good sample size. It is significantly bigger than any previously published Delphi study in Paralympic sport.

“We have representation from a large number of nations from all over the world, which is just what we wanted. We also have a great range in the type of experience of our participants, who all bring unique and valuable opinions and expertise to the panel. We hope we can continue to keep these respondents engaged over the next stages to ensure we get high quality and thorough outcomes, which will underpin the minimum impairment criteria for wheelchair basketball going forward.”

The new MIC will be part of a revised set of IWBF Classification Rules, which are being implemented to ensure compliance with the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) Athlete Classification Code.

IWBF Secretary General, Nobert Kucera, said:

“The research project is a very important part in ensuring our new Classification Rules become compliant to the IPC Athlete Classification Code to not only get wheelchair basketball considered for reinstatement into the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games but also to stay part of the Paralympic movement, so we are extremely pleased to have received such good engagement from such a comprehensive expert panel. I would like to thank all participants who are giving up their time and knowledge to assist us in creating a minimum impairment criteria that is evidenced.”

The second round of the Delphi Study is already underway with the aim to complete the research project by July 2021. The new Classification Rules and minimum impairment criteria will be implemented in an appropriate transitional process following the conclusion of the research project and approval from the IPC.

Further information about the new MIC can be found here.