British Rowing (BR) has recently updated its athlete classification system. Some information is on their website, but even this page has some out of date information (expect more updates soon). The change was made to conform more closely to the FISA (Fédération Internationale des Sociétés d’Aviron – the international governing body for the sport of rowing) standards as well as to align more closely to how other sports structure their para classifications.
The update also changes and enhances the “non-para” classifications formerly known as “Rowability”. BR decided that the term “Adaptive” is the more widely used term both in rowing and other sports for disabled individuals (especially for sports that incorporate special gear and equipment like rowing). Furthermore, BR has expanded and clarified a these Adaptive categories in an attempt to broaden inclusion and clarify parameters.
Also note that “Adaptive” is increasingly being used as an umbrella, “superset” term for events that might combine pararowers and other adaptive rowers who have not received a pararowing classification. If an event wants to broaden the numbers for a particular event, instead of breaking it down into a races for PR1, PR2 and AR3-VI, the event will sometime simply title the event “Adaptive 1x” (or “Ada”” 1x” for short). In short, all “pararowers” are “adaptive rowers” as well, but only those “adaptive rowers” who have gotten their certification are “pararowers”.
Below are the new classification summaries direct from British Rowing….
PARA ROWERS – Refers to rowers who meet FISA recognised criteria to obtain a classification in the following boat classes:
- PR1 – Para Rower (Arms and Shoulders)
- PR2 – Para Rower (Trunk and Arms)
- PR3-VI – Para Rower (Legs, Trunk, Arms & Visual Impairment)
- PR3-PD – Para Rower (Legs, Trunk, Arms & Physical Disability)
ADAPTIVE ROWING – If you are not eligible for Para Rowing, you may apply for an Adaptive Rowing classification. To be clear, Adaptive rowers must go through the same classification process as Para Rowers in order to obtain the appropriate classification. The fundamental difference lies in the eligible impairments for classification into a Para Rowing boat class, or an Adaptive Rowing Sports class (please see BR document “Applying for Adaptive Classification” for more information.)
Rowability is now a defunct term, having been replaced by the umbrella term ‘Adaptive Rowing’ to refer to anyone involved in the sport, including Para Rowers. As such, with Rowability no longer being used in our terminology and in line with the changes to boat classes on the Para rowing side, the other designations are as follows:
- AR1 – Adaptive Rower (Upright Seat)
- AR2 – Adaptive Rower (Fixed Seat)
- AR3-LD – Adaptive Rower (Sliding Seat – Learning Disability)
- AR3-PD – Adaptive Rower (Sliding Seat – Physical Disability)
- AR3- VI – Adaptive Rower (Sliding Seat- Visual Impairment)
- AR – O – Adaptive Rower (Open, Self-Declaration Form)
The AR-O classification is being offered to those individuals whose impairment/s are not eligible for either a Para Rowing or Adaptive Rowing classification. The individual applying for AR-O will be required to fill in a Self-Declaration form (available from BR) and provide appropriate evidence of their disability in order to classify.
For the complete guide to pararowing classification, check out FISA’s online guide.
Also, note that British Rowing has a strong need for volunteer classifiers to perform the work of classification. Classifiers have either medical training or a strong background in rowing coaching and they go through a special classification workshop to teach them how to conduct classifications. If you are interested in learning more, drop me a line and I will forward you details.