What is Para Table Tennis?

Para Table Tennis follows the motto of ‘One Sport, One Family’ which has been adopted by the International Table Tennis Federation.  Para Table Tennis is the form of Table Tennis for People with a Disability.

Video courtesy of the International Paralympic Committee

Who plays Para Table Tennis?

Para Table Tennis is for anybody, and everybody, who has a physical and/or intellectual disability. The athlete may have been born with this disability, or they may have acquired it at a later stage in life, in either case a Person with a Disability can play Para Table Tennis. There are several classes within Para Table Tennis that ensure there is an even playing field between opponents.

Video courtesy of the International Paralympic Committee

How are athletes classified?

Classification is not required for general participation in sport. Any person can participate in sport; socially, without a need to be classified. To compete in sport as an athlete with a disability, an athlete must meet the minimal disability criteria for that sport, and hold a particular level of classification.  Classification is an assessment process, which allows us to group athletes whose disability causes similar limitations in their sport in order to allow for meaningful competition. There are three levels of classification –

Provisional Classification

The provisional classification process has been designed to allow athletes who do not have access to a sport specific classification panel, to gain an indication of their classification for their specific sport. This provisional classification must be given by a certified classifier, and is conducted in line with International classification rules for the sport.All provisional classifications provide an indication of a sport specific classification and are generally only valid for a 12 month period.

An athlete may generally participate at club level, school level or local competition. A provisional class is generally not valid for state level competition. Athletes with provisional classification are not eligible for national rankings, records or team selections.

National Classification

National Classification is a sport-specific classification process that involves the same tests that are used for the International Classification process.This level of classification is for athletes who have a genuine interest in competing against others with a disability in their chosen sport. National Classification should be available several times through the year, often in conjunction with a state or national championship for that sport. It is valid for up to national level competition, and is required for selection to National teams, and to claim North American records or rankings.

In cases where an athlete’s class may be borderline or where an shows potential for International competition, the athlete may be reviewed by the most experienced classifiers for the sport in North America, to ensure that the class given nationally is as accurate as possible.

International Classification
Once an athlete progresses to international competition, they will need to undergo International Classification conducted at an appropriate International event by the International Federation for their sport. An International classification outcome always supersedes any National level classification.

 

Highlights from the London 2012 Paralympics

Video courtesy of the International Paralympic Committee