September 19 - The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has signed a contract at the University of Queensland in Brisbane to open the second of three Paralympic classification research and development centres.
The centres, which are supported by funds from the new IPC-International Olympic Committee (IOC) Cooperation Agreement, are being opened across the globe to develop the Paralympic Movement's classification research agenda.
Each centre will be dedicated to one particular impairment type - physical, visual and intellectual - and each will contract a post-doctoral researcher to assist with the project.
The Australian university is the second facility to sign a contract with the IPC after the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam signed up in July to lead a project for the development of sport-specific classification for athletes with a visual impairment.
"The centre in Australia will be a hub for classification research for persons with a physical impairment, serving as a place to exchange conceptual ideas, knowledge, experience and expertise," IPC medical and scientific director Peter Van de Vliet said.
"It will serve as the Paralympic Movement's model for classification under the IPC Classification Code and on the development of new measurement methods for classification.
"The IPC Classification Code directs classification to be sport-specific and based on accurate research findings."
Leading the centre will be IPC Classification Committee member Sean Tweedy.
"The IPC Classification Code was adopted by the IPC Governing Board in 2007 and provides policies and procedures for Paralympic classification that should be common to all sports and to the Paralympic Games," he said.
"Evidence-based decision making is critical because it can reduce the number of classification controversies and increase the level of certainty about classification decisions.
"This keeps the focus of the media and fans exactly where it should be - on the sport."
Negotiations for a third centre to focus on athletes with intellectual impairment remain ongoing.
The opening of the classification research and development centres is part of the IPC's Classification Code Review process, which is encouraging all the Paralympic Movement's stakeholders to suggest reasonable amendments to the current Code.
The first round of review is currently underway and will run until September 30, while the second round will run from June 1 to September 30 next year.
Following each consultation round, the feedback will be reviewed by the IPC Classification Committee and the IPC Governing Board, who will then circulate a first draft of the modified Code.
This will then be presented by the IPC Governing Board as a motion at the 2015 IPC General Assembly, with the amendments to take effect within one year of approval.
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June 2013: IPC begins Classification Code review