Paralympic classification scandal: MPs criticise BPA boss for six years of inaction – DisabledGo Blog

The head of the British Paralympic Association (BPA) has been heavily criticised by MPs for failing to address cheating within the system that classifies disabled athletes, despite being in his post for more than six years.

Tim Hollingsworth was giving evidence to the Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee, as part of its inquiry into sports governance.

He was giving evidence after the disabled peer and retired Paralympian Baroness [Tanni] Grey-Thompson had told the committee that the classification system was being abused by cheating British athletes in search of money and medals.

On the day they gave evidence to the inquiry, the committee also published a series of witness statements from retired and current athletes, their relatives, and officials, raising serious concerns about the system (see separate story).

The committee has also received evidence from athletes who have given evidence anonymously.

The classification system is run by the national governing body of each Paralympic sport, while athletes competing internationally must also submit to testing by international classifiers.

The process includes medical evidence, physical examinations and assessment of how the athlete functions in that sport, as well as observation of them in competition.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) defines classification as grouping athletes into different classes according to how much their impairment “affects fundamental activities” in that sport and discipline.

But misleading classifiers can allow athletes to compete against those whose impairments have a greater negative impact on attributes such as speed, coordination and strength.

Hollingsworth told the MPs that the system was the “absolute foundation stone of Paralympic sport”, and he insisted that it was fit for purpose but “can and must be improved”.

Read more at: https://www.disabledgo.com/blog/2017/11/paralympic-classification-scandal-mps-criticise-bpa-boss-for-six-years-of-inaction/

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