The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has confirmed that a number of athletes are still yet to be classified ahead of this year’s Tokyo Paralympics.
The delayed Tokyo Paralympic Games are due to begin in August but many athletes are still waiting to discover which category they will be competing in, with as many as 10 out of the 22 Paralympics sports being affected, although the IPC would not comment on which sports were impacted.
The delay in classification has come as a result of events being postponed or cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with Kyodo News reporting that over 30 athletes who have either qualified to represent Japan or are looking to qualify in the coming months are still waiting to be classified. It is believed that amongst those still waiting to be classified are Paralympic champions, with some fearing that classification will not be assigned in time for the start of the Games.
Yumiko Taniguchi, executive director at the Japan Swimming Federation for Persons with an Intellectual Disability said “We cannot have a situation where athletes can't compete because of [no] classification.” An IPC spokesperson told Inside the Games “Due to COVID-19 and multiple cancelled competitions in 2020, there are a number of athletes that still need to be classified ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. This is impacting athletes across 10 of the 22 sports for Tokyo 2020. The IPC is working closely with the relevant International Federations on various scenarios to ensure athletes can be classified ahead of the Games.”