Paralympic Classification

Classification is a unique and integral part of disability sport. It provides a structure for fair competition. Paralympic athletes have an impairment in body structures and functions that leads to a competitive disadvantage in sport. Consequently, criteria are put in place to ensure that winning is determined by skill, fitness, power, endurance, tactical ability and mental focus, the same factors that account for success in sport for athletes who are able-bodied.

International Classification Guidelines

The International Classification Rules for boccia are determined by BISFed and these provide the guidelines for international competition including the Paralympic Games. Boccia Ireland follows the International Classification Guidelines for BC1, BC2, BC3 and BC4 classifications. Boccia Ireland use these classifications for all events. B5, a new classification, is currently being trialled at international level and we await confirmation of its acceptance at international events. See below for details on classifications for players not eligible under Paralympic & BISFed classification.

National Classification

As mentioned above, Boccia Ireland currently operates in line with the Paralympic & BISFed Classifications – BC1, BC2, BC3 , BC4 (& BC5). However, boccia is a fully inclusive sport and as such we have created two additional classifications  – BC6 and Open. Details of all classification groupings are below. 

In order to compete in Boccia Ireland competitions you must first be classified.

National Classification is conducted by Paralympics Ireland Certified Classifiers – consisting of at least one medical and one technical classifier. The classification given as a result of this assessment will hold a provisional status until you attend an international event and are assessed again by a team of more experienced classifiers.

You will be eligible to compete at national events under the national classification given to you but please be aware that in some cases your classification may change once you are reassessed, internationally.

Please download the Paralympics Ireland Athlete Request Form below and ensure it is signed by your GP or other medical professional along with any other relevant medical documents which may  help the Classifiers in their assessment. See also the Paralympics Ireland National Policy & Standards document for further information regarding national classification.

Download the Paralympics Ireland Classification Request Form (PDF)

Download the Paralympics Ireland National Policy and Standards (PDF)

Examples of Eligible Impairment Types

Individuals with a range of impairments may be eligable to compete under the Paralympics Classification System. However, for those who do not fulfil those criteria, Boccia Ireland has an 'Open Class' for all players to compete in.

If you are unsure of whether you are eligable or not, or have any other queries relating to classification, please contact Ana, the classification coordinator for Paralympics Ireland, at classification@paralympics.ie

  • Spastic hypertonia
  • Dystonia
  • Athetosis
  • Ataxia
  • Impaired muscle power
  • Impaired passive range of movement
  • Limb deficiency
  • Wheelchair users

BC1

Players are able to use their hands or feet to consistently propel a ball into play. BC1 players may have an aide on court to stabilise or adjust their playing chair and pass them their ball before each shot.

BC2

Players are able to use their hands to consistently propel a ball into play and have greater functional ability than a BC1 player. No assistance permitted.

BC3

Players with severe locomotor dysfunction in all four limbs who are unable to throw or kick a ball into play and as such are permitted to use an assistive device such as a ramp to propel the ball into play. BC3 players are supported by an assistant (‘ramper’), who must keep their back to the court and their eyes averted from play.

BC4

Players in this class have locomotor dysfunction of all four extremities as well as poor trunk control. They can demonstrate sufficient dexterity to throw the ball onto the court. Players are not eligible for assistance.

BC5

This class is for players with less impairment than a BC2 or BC4. The impact of the impairment is on the throwing arm with fine motor skills and dexterity affected. Players will have locomotor dysfunction affecting all four limbs.

* Please note that this classification is currently being trialled at international level and we await confirmation of its acceptance at international events.

** BC5 Classification is being introduced with the clear understanding that it is unlikely to be included in the Paralympic Games due to the restriction on the number of athletes who are permitted to participate in the Games.

BC6

Boccia Ireland has introduced this classification for players who wish to compete at national level but who are not eligible under the BISFed classifications (BC1-BC5). Players in this classification must have a permanent impairment affecting their upper limbs.

Open

As suggested by the title, this class is open to all Boccia Ireland members, regardless of disability or not. This classification allows any member to challenge any other member to a match. Players from different classifications may play each other in this OPEN class.

This is more for fun competition and encourages family members, friends and supporters to get involved and try out the sport.

Boccia Classifiers

Paralympics Ireland works in partnership with the National Governing Body of sports to identify the needs for future classifier development. The process involves identifying suitably qualified and experienced individuals who are interested in becoming national or international classifiers in targeted sports and geographic areas. National classifiers who achieve a high degree of experience and excellence may have the opportunity to train to become international classifiers in due time.

Pre-requisite Qualifications
To be eligible to become a classifier, individuals must meet the following prerequisites:

Medical Classifiers
Currently registered Medical Professional:
• Medical Doctor, Physiotherapist or Occupational Therapist for classifying athletes with a physical impairment
• Ophthalmologist or Optometrist for classifying athletes with a vision impairment
• Clinical Psychologist for classifying athletes with an intellectual impairment

Technical Classifiers
Non-medical personnell:
• Tertiary qualified individuals in Sport Science / Biomechanics / Human Movement Science or equivalent; with additional sport specific experience.
• Coaches with at least a Level 2 Coaching qualification and a minimum of 4 years coaching experience, preferably experience of coaching athletes with a disability.
• Retired athlete with a disability with a coaching background.

Interested in becoming a classifier? Want more information? Contact Ana: classification@paralympics.ie

For more information see – BISFed Boccia Classification Rules