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.
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 along with a headshot two weeks prior to the classification registration deadline.
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).
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 sanctioned event, they must also have USA Archery membership, available here.