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July 21, 2019

USA Archery to Offer Para Archery Classification at Outdoor Nationals and Valor Games Southwest

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado – Classification provides a structure for para competition. The classification system is designed to determine eligibility and group athletes according to their impairment to create a level playing field. Classifiers go through extensive training and are certified by World Archery to carefully determine whether athletes qualify for para competition. Classification can be either national or international.

USA Archery will offer a national classification beginning August 12th-13th, prior to the 135th U.S. National Target Championships and September 23rd -25th at the Valor Games Southwest events. Any athlete who wants to register for and compete in a USA Archery Sanctioned Event in the Para Division, or the 2020 U.S. Paralympic Trials – Archery, which begins at the 2020 Arizona Cup next April, will need to obtain at minimum a national classification prior to the trials event.

To be classified, athletes must submit the Classification Request Form and have the Medical Intake Form completed by a doctor within three months of the classification. For national classification, the Medical Form must be submitted to USA Archery’s Athlete Services Manager, Cindy Tobin at [email protected] along with a headshot by July 29th, 2019 for the 135th U.S. National Target Championships and by September 3rd for the Valor Games Southwest.

Once the requisite forms and photo are submitted, they will be sent to the classifiers to be verified for completeness and eligibility. If the athlete has an impairment that is not eligible the athlete will be notified so they can choose whether to attend the event. 

Before the event, athletes will be notified of the classification schedule. When they arrive for their classification appointment, they take all their assistive equipment with them (wheelchairs, stools, releases, braces, etc.). The classifiers will test the archer for range of movement, flexibility, strength, and balance. Upon completion, the classifiers will present their decision and the athlete and coach will be given copies of the classification forms.

Athletes can be classified as Not Eligible (NE), Standing (ST), or Wheelchair 1 or 2 (W1 or W2).

  • NE - not eligible but may be approved for adapted equipment or assistive aids in order to compete in able-body categories.
  • ST - standing - has a disability that can affect either the upper body or lower body, but they stand or sit on a stool or chair to shoot (feet are on the ground)
  • W2 – will have paraplegia or comparable disability.  This class will display minimal or no limitations in upper body strength, range of motion or coordination. W2 athletes may shoot from a wheelchair and compete in either compound or recurve open category.
  • W1 - shoot from a wheelchair but have more severe impairments than W2. To be classified as W1, an archer must have impairments in at least 3 limbs and the core and must shoot using a wheelchair.

Shooting categories are different than the classification groups. There are two shooting categories: Open and W1. Within Open, there are separate divisions for recurve and compound, and men and women. In W1, recurve and compound archers are combined, and in some competitions the men and women are also combined. Once an athlete is classified, to compete in a USA Archery sanctioned event, they must also have USA Archery membership, available here.

To access the Medical Intake Form and Classification Request Form, click here.

To register for the 135th U.S. National Target Championships and U.S. Open in Dublin, OH on August 14-17, click here. To learn more about the Valor Games Southwest Event, in San Antonio, TX on September 25, click here. For more information on classification procedures contact USA Archery’s High Performance Program Manager Leticia Malavasi at [email protected]

Funding for this classification opportunity was provided in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. 


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