Cerebral palsy is the second (alphabetically) of the six major disability categories at the Paralympic Games.

The disability includes athletes who have a disorder of movement and posture due to damage to an area, or areas, of the brain that control and coordinate muscle tone, reflexes, posture and movement.

Cerebral means brain-centred while palsy is a lack of muscle control.  In the Paralympics, Cerebral palsy is abbreviated to CP.

The Paralympic sports participated in by Cerebral Palsy athletes are:


Archery is open to athletes with a physical disability.

Classification is broken up into three classes:

W1 -  Spinal Cord and Cerebral Palsy athletes with impairment in all four limbs

W2 -  Wheelchair users with full arm function

Standing -  Amputee, Les Autres and Cerebral Palsy standing athletes. Some athletes in the standing group will sit on a high stool for support but will still have their feet touching the ground.


Athletics is open to all disability groups and uses a functional classification system.

A brief classification guide is as follows: (prefixing F for field athletes or T for track athletes)

F or T 11-13 are Visually Impaired

F or T 20 are Learning Difficulty

F or T 31-38 are Cerebral Palsy

F or T 41- 46 Amputee and Les Autres

T 51- 54 Wheelchair track athletes

F51- 58 Wheelchair field athletes


Boccia is open to athletes with Cerebral Palsy who compete from a wheelchair.

Classification is split into four groups:

BC1 - Athletes are either throwers or foot players (with Cerebral Palsy).  Athletes may compete with an assistant

BC2 - For throwing players (with Cerebral Palsy).  Players may not have an assistant

BC3 - Athletes (with severe disability) who use an assistive device and may be assisted by a person, but this assistant must keep their back to the court.

BC4 - For throwing players. Players may not have an assistant (Non Cerebral Palsy).


Cycling is open to Amputee, Les Autres, Cerebral Palsy and Visually Impaired athletes who compete in individual road race and track events.

Classification is split into divisions 2, 3 and 4 for athletes with Cerebral Palsy, athletes in division two being the most severely handicapped progressing to division 4 which includes physically more able athletes.

Visually Impaired athletes compete together with no separate classification system. They ride in tandem with a sighted guide.

Amputee, Spinal Cord Injury and Les Autres competitors compete within the classification groupings:

LC1 - essentially for riders with upper limb disabilities

LC2 - essentially for riders with disabilities in one leg but who are able to pedal normally

LC3 - essentially for riders with a handicap in one lower limb who will usually pedal with one leg only

LC4 - for riders with disabilities affecting both legs.


Equestrian is open to all disability groups, with riders divided into four grades.

Grade 1 incorporates severely disabled riders with Cerebral Palsy, Les Autres and Spinal Cord Injury

Grade 2 incorporates Cerebral Palsy, Les Autres, Spinal Cord injury and Amputee riders with reasonable balance and abdominal control.

Grade 3 incorporates Cerebral Palsy, Les Autres, Amputee, Spinal Cord Injury and totally Blind athletes with good balance, leg movement and co-ordination.

Grade 4 incorporates Cerebral Palsy, Les Autres, Amputee, Spinal Cord injury and Visually Impaired. This last group comprises ambulant athletes with either impaired vision or impaired arm/leg function.


Football is open to athletes with cerebral palsy and includes classes 5, 6, 7 and 8.  All classes comprise ambulant athletes; class 5 being the least physically able, progressing through to class 8 who are minimally affected. Teams must include at least one athlete from either class 5 or 6.


Sailing is open to Amputee, Cerebral Palsy, Visually Impaired, Wheelchair and Les Autres athletes.

Classification for the Sonar is based on a functional points system with a minimum of 1 point for severely disabled athletes rising by scale to a high of 7 points for less disabled athletes. Each crew of three is allowed a maximum of 14 points between them.

The two-person Skud includes one severely disabled sailor, and one person with minimal disability. At least one of the crew must be female.

The singled handed 2.4m can be crewed regardless of points but the sailor must have at least a minimum level of disability. The characteristics of the boat allow the sailors to compete on equal terms with able bodied sailors.


Classification is divided into three groups:

S1 to S10 are those with Physical Impairment. S1 will have the most severe impairment and an S10 a lesser impairment, for example a hand amputation.

S11 to S13 are those with a Visual Impairment. S11 will have little or no vision, S12 can recognise the shape of a hand and have some ability to see, S13 greater vision than the other two classes but less than 20 degrees of vision.

S14 is for athletes with a Learning Difficulty.

Table Tennis

Table tennis is open to athletes with a physical or Learning Difficulty spread over 11 classes.

Classes 1 to 5 encompass athletes competing from a Wheelchair with class 1 being the most severely disabled and class 5 the least disabled.

Classes 6 to 10 comprise ambulant athletes with class 6 the most severely disabled and class 10 the least.

Class 11 is for athletes with a Learning Difficulty.


Volleyball is open to athletes with a physical disability and has both a sitting and standing event.

In sitting volleyball the court is smaller than standard and has a lower net.

Standing volleyball uses a full sized court and normal height net.

In the sitting games the only classification is the minimal disability ruling; athletes may compete if they have a disability that prevents them from competing on equal terms with able bodied athletes.