para powerlifting logo


In order to safeguard the integrity of fair competition, all Para sports have a system in place which aims to ensure that winning is determined by sporting factors such as skill, fitness, power, endurance, tactical ability and mental focus, the same factors that account for success in sport for able bodied athletes.

This system is called classification.

Through classification, it is determined which athletes are eligible to compete in a sport and how those athletes are then grouped together for competition, in order to minimize the impact of those athletes’ impairments on sport performance.

Classification is sport-specific because an impairment affects the ability to perform in different sports to a different extent. As a consequence, an athlete may meet the criteria to compete in one sport, but may not meet the criteria in another sport. Having an impairment is thus not sufficient for an athlete to compete in Para sport.

The groupings of athletes by the degree of activity limitation resulting from their impairments are called ‘Sport Classes’. This, to a certain extent, is similar to grouping athletes by age, gender or weight.

Classification across the Paralympic Movement is governed by the IPC Athlete Classification Code and Standards. Click for more information on classification.

Para Powerlifting is open to athletes with one or multiple of the eight eligible physical impairments. All athletes have an impairment in their lower limbs or hips that meets the minimum impairment criteria to compete in Para Powerlifting.

All athletes in Para Powerlifting have one or more of the following impairments:

  • Impaired Muscle Power
  • Impaired Passive Range of Movement
  • Limb Deficiency
  • Leg Length Difference
  • Short Stature
  • Hypertonia
  • Ataxia
  • Athetosis

There is one sport class in Para Powerlifting. All eligible athletes compete in this sport class, however competition is divided by gender and in weight categories.