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Building on our successful recent series of athlete webinars, the BAC will join forces with the British Paralympic Association (BPA) later this month, to host an athlete Q and A on issues around classification in Para sport.

On March 24, the BPA’s Classification Manager, Iain Gowans, will lead a webinar open to all Para athletes currently part of a World-Class Programme, during which he will provide a short update on current information on the Tokyo Paralympic Games and address wider classification topics, before answering athletes’ questions. He will be joined on the webinar by Helene Raynsford, Chair of the BPA’s Athlete Commission.

The webinar is being hosted as part of the BAC’s commitment to supporting the BPA in an athlete-focused approach to implementing classification, and ensuring that athletes understand their rights and responsibilities around classification.

BAC Athlete Support Manager, Hannah Dean, explains:

“The classification process is integral to Para sport, and as such is something which the vast majority of our Para athletes will have had extensive experience of. However, by its very nature, it is also a process which can be difficult to make sense of.

“We share with the BPA a desire to ensure that such an important issue is understood by our athletes, through effective communication and open discussion, and we are delighted to be welcoming Iain to this webinar, at which he’ll be able to share his considerable expertise and answer our members’ questions.

“This session follows on from a number of virtual ‘catch-up’ sessions which we hosted during last year’s initial national lockdown, which proved a really popular way of athletes being able to interact with us and each other, as well as stay up-to-date with key information.”

Athletes will be asked to submit their questions in advance, and in line with all discussions around classification, we ask that questions are kept to a factual nature, avoiding speculation and focusing on personal experience or policy issues.

Iain Gowans adds:

“Classification is an essential element of Para sport and is often a hot topic of conversation amongst Para athletes. However, sometimes the noise around classification gets very loud and becomes a distraction from training and performance, particularly in the run-up to a Paralympic Games.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the types of questions athletes submit in advance, as we’ll be shaping the session around those questions. We’re looking to explore and build on athletes’ current understanding, so that those that attend the session can readily put classification into perspective.”

The webinar will take place at 12:30pm on March 24, via Zoom. Athletes will need to register to attend, and can do so by emailing support@britishathletes.org.

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