As a signatory to the IPC Classification Code and to ensure competition is fair and equal, disability sport uses a system of ‘classification’ to ensure:
- That athletes in competition have a recognised disability or ”impairment’ – referred to as athlete eligibility.
- That this impairment has an impact on their sports performance – referred to as sports classification.
VIRTUS manages stage 1 of this process for athletes with an intellectual disability. We have produced a guide to eligibility and classification:
INAS Athlete Eligibility Criteria
To be considered eligible to compete as an athlete with an intellectual disability, athletes must fulfill the eligibility criteria as defined by VIRTUS which are based upon the World Health Organisation and American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD).
The criteria state that an athlete must demonstrate:
- Significant impairment in intellectual functioning which is defined as a Full Scale IQ score of 75 or lower.
- Significant limitations in adaptive behaviour as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills. This is defined as performance that is at least 2 standard deviations below the mean of, either one of the 3 types of adaptive behaviour (conceptual, social, or practical skills) or an overall score on a standardised measure of conceptual, social and practical skills.
- Intellectual disability must be evident during the developmental period, which is from conception to 18 years of age
Further details regarding the eligibility criteria, evidential requirements and application process can be found below. The process is governed by the VIRTUS Eligibility and Classification Policy.
Additional Eligibility Groups (2017 update)
At the request of the 2013 VIRTUS General Assembly and the membership, VIRTUS has been considering the feasibility and benefits of introducing additional eligibility groups into our competition programme.
A research project was commissioned by the Governing Board and we presented early results of this two years later in 2015. Since that time, there has been further consultation and feedback with the membership and eventually the proposal to trial this in competition was included in the VIRTUS Strategic Plan 2017-2020 – a document that was unanimously approved by the recent General Assembly in Brisbane.
VIRTUS will therefore begin a pilot to introduce additional eligibility groups in VIRTUS competition beginning with the 2017 VIRTUS World Table Tennis Championships (Czech Republic – October) and 2017 VIRTUS Swimming Championships (Mexico – November).
During this pilot project, there will be three eligible groups in competition:
- For athletes with an intellectual disability – our existing criteria
- For athletes with significant additional impairment – for athletes with an intellectual disability and a further significant impairment. Initially this will be restricted to athletes with Down Syndrome (see below)
- For athletes with autism
VIRTUS will be monitoring and evaluating these new eligibility groups over time to refine and develop the criteria. We reserve the right to amend or remove the eligibility criteria at any time as we further refine and develop the project. Please note also that these new criteria are specific to VIRTUS competition only.