A total of 4,698 performances by 904 athletes from 46 countries were analyzed to answer the following questions: (a) Were there significant differences in performance between athletes in each of the International Stoke Mandeville Games Federation (ISMGF) medical classifications? (b) To what extent did the classification system yield consistent results across events? (c) To what extent did performance discriminate between athletes in the various classes? (d) What classification systems would the performance data support? The analysis indicated that not all classes differed significantly from all other classes in performance and that there were different patterns of interclass performance between the track events and the throws. Individual athletic performance was shown not to be a good discriminator of medical classification, particularly for paraplegics. The data supported a reduction in the number of classifications from 7 to 3 in track and from 8 to 4 classes in the throws.
Request reprints from Colin Higgs, School of Physical Education & Athletics, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, A1C 5J7, Canada.