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Paracanoe Classification

Classification provides a structure for competition. 

Athletes competing in Paralympic sports have an impairment that leads to a competitive disadvantage in sport. Consequently, a system has to be put in place to minimize the impact of impairments on sport performance and to ensure the success of an athlete is determined by skill, fitness, power, endurance, tactical ability and mental focus. This system is called classification.

Paracanoe is the paddling discipline for athletes with an impairment and are contested in two boat types, kayak (K) and va’a (V). There are three physical impairment classifications in each of the boat classes KL1, KL2 and KL3 for kayak and VL1, VL2 and VL3 for va’a. 

  • Click here for information about the eligible Paracanoe impairment types. 

Once classified with an Athlete Sport Class, paddlers are allocated an Athlete Classification Status.

Physical Impairment

To be classified with a physical impairment, a paddler’s functional mobility is assessed by ICF trained classifiers.

The process involves a physical test, technical test and if necessary, observation in competition, during which time a paddlers classification will be determined.

A minimum of two classifiers form a classification panel consisting of a medical classifier (a doctor or physiotherapist), who will have undertaken the ICF Paracanoe classifier training, and a technical classifier (a coach).

  • Click here to e-mail us for more information on how to become a classifier.

In the first instance, paddlers will need to obtain a British Canoeing classification and then as they progress along the elite pathway may be put forward for an international classification.

Further Information

Classification Medical Review

A Medical Review Request (MRR) is possible for paddlers with a status National Confirmed (NC) status or National Review (NR) status – with fixed date review, when it is considered that there is a change in the paddlers medical condition, either by medical intervention or other or where the impairment is progressive, that would affect the classes allocated:

Request for reviews must be submitted to British Canoeing together with recent (within 12 months) supporting medical documentation and a minimum of 3 months prior to a competition where classification is available.

Further details regarding eligibility can be found on the International Canoe Federation website and their classification page.