The IWBF has been granted more time by the IPC ©Getty Images

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has extended the deadline for the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) to reclassify players to ensure the sport retains its place at the postponed Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

In a statement, the IPC said the deadline for the IWBF to verify the eligiblity of all 4.0 and 4.5 players who are set to compete at Tokyo 2020 had been pushed back to August 1 from May 29 because of the coronavirus crisis.

It grants the IWBF extra time to rectify the issues which had led the IPC to threaten to cut wheelchair basketball from the 2020 Paralympic Games programme.

Wheelchair basketball has also been dropped from the Paris 2024 Paralympics "with immediate effect", but will be reinstated if the IWBF becomes fully compliant with the IPC Athlete Classification Code by August 2021.

The IPC, which found the IWBF to be non-compliant with its Athlete Classification Code in January, said in February that between 50 to 75 wheelchair basketball athletes should be reclassified.

The IWBF is confident wheelchair basketball will remain part of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games ©Getty Images
The IWBF is confident wheelchair basketball will remain part of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games ©Getty Images

Approximately 75 per cent of the players whose eligibility needed to be verified ahead of Tokyo 2020 have been assessed again, the IPC said.

The deadline for the rest to be assessed has been extended "because further medical information is required in certain cases, and this information is difficult to access at present due to restrictions related to COVID-19".

"Since January, the IWBF has made good progress in meeting its requirements to assess and verify the eligibility of all 4.0 and 4.5 class players set to compete at Tokyo 2020," said IPC acting director of classification Genevieve Duff.

"However, restrictions put in place around the world due to the pandemic have slowed access to medical information which is needed as part of the athlete assessments.

"With the easing of some COVID-19 restrictions, the IWBF now has until 1 August 2020 to complete the eligibility assessments."

The IWBF has claimed it is confident it will meet the deadline.