The amount of people who are able to classify athletes with a visual impairment has grown by 50 per cent after 21 candidates passed a training course in the Greek capital of Athens, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced.
The newly-qualified classifiers now have the ability to work at international level and they will be able to help classify athletes for the IPC and the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA).
Hosted by the Hellenic Sport Federation for Persons with Disabilities (HSFPD), the course brought together 24 vision experts from a range of countries across the world, and they were taught how to measure visual field under IPC and IBSA rules as well as gaining an insight into the classification procedures for both organisations.
Around 40 people applied for a place on the course, and only three of those who took part were unable to pass the exam at the end of the training.
The 21 new visual impairment classifiers will be slowly integrated into the current pool of 42 people worldwide, gaining experience from senior advisers to increase their experience and expertise in the field.
As a result of the course in Athens, the IPC and IBSA can now select from classifiers from a wider range of nations, including Venezuela, Bermuda, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, India, Ireland, Mauritius and South Korea.
"For the continued growth of Paralympic sport it is essential that we recruit and train more classifiers around the world, increasing the knowledge and expertise of those who assess athletes in the various impairment groups," IPC Medical and Scientific Director Dr Peter Van de Vliet said.
"Thanks to the course in Athens which was a huge success, the IPC and IBSA can now call upon more VI classifiers over a greater geographical area.
"This is great news for all concerned when you consider how fast participation across the world is increasing with new athletes getting involved in para-sport all the time.
"I would like to congratulate the 21 candidates who passed the course and are now VI international classifiers.
"I would also like to thank the Hellenic Sport Federation for Persons with Disabilities for their excellent hosting and support of the event."
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