Para Athletics

Birmingham 2 August 2022. Hannah Cockroft (England) wins the women's T33/34 100m. Photo by Mark Shearman

Talent Pathway

The England Athletics talent pathway is fully inclusive of para athletes who have a national or international para athletics classification and have met the consideration standards for para athletes  and subsequently been selected for the Para Academy, Youth Talent Programme, Junior Talent Programme or Senior Talent Programmes.

The England Athletics talent pathway aims to increase the number of talented athletes/para athletes who have the skills, competencies, knowledge, and resilience to progress to the UK Athletics World Class Programme, succeed at Senior Championships, share knowledge and to gain a positive experience throughout the journey.

Download the pathway standards (PDF 730kB)

England Athletics Para Academy

The England Athletics Para Academy supports English para athletes who have displayed potential for future selection to GB&NI senior teams and Team England at the Commonwealth Games.

The Para Academy provides a para specific environment for para athletes and coaches to learn and develop whilst progressing towards the goals of selection to the Youth, Junior or Senior England Athletics squads as well as the UKA Para Futures and World Class Programmes.

Download 2023-2024 Para Academy Selection Policy (PDF 1MB)

Eligibility & Classification


The purpose of classification in Para Athletics is to define who is eligible to compete and to ensure fair competition by minimising the impact of eligible impairments on the outcome of competition. To do this, athletes are assessed and then placed into competition categories, called Sport Classes, according to how their impairment affects sports performance. In general, athletes with impairments that have a similar impact on sport performance will compete in the same Sport Class.

The system ensures that athletes do not succeed simply because they have an impairment that causes less of a disadvantage than their competitors, but because of their skill, determination, tactics, fitness and preparation.

Go to National Classification | UK Athletics for more information including eligible impairment types, or contact the UK Athletics Classification Coordinator or 07702 335861

Eligible impairments

Impairment typeDescription
HypertoniaAbnormal increase in muscle tension with reduced ability of muscles to stretch, and joint stiffness, slowness of movement and poor postural adaptation and balance, due to problems in the central nervous system, typical of conditions such as cerebral palsy, acquired brain injury, multiple sclerosis and stroke.
Ataxia Lack of muscle co-ordination due to problems with the parts of the central nervous system that control movement and balance, typical of conditions such as brain injury, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Friedreich’s ataxia, spinocerebellar ataxia.
Athetosis Repetitive and more or less continual involuntary movements caused by fluctuating muscle tone arising from problems in the central nervous system, typical of conditions such as cerebral palsy, stroke, traumatic brain injury.
Limb deficiency A total or partial absence of bones or joints of the shoulder region, upper extremities, pelvic region or lower extremities, resulting as a consequence of trauma (e.g. traumatic amputation) or illness (e.g. amputation due to cancer), or congenital limb deficiency (dysmelia).
Impaired passive range of movement (PROM) Range of movement in one or more joints is permanently reduced due to trauma, illness or congenital deficiency (e.g. conditions such as arthrogryposis, ankylosis or joint contracture resulting from trauma).
Impaired muscle power The muscles in the limbs or trunk are completely or partially paralysed as a consequence of conditions such as spinal cord injury, muscular dystrophy, brachial plexus injury, polio, or spina bifida
Leg length difference Minimum of 7cm leg length difference in one leg due to trauma, illness or congenital conditions.
Short Stature Standing height and limb length are reduced due to conditions such as achondroplasia, osteogenesis imperfecta, or growth dysfunction.
Intellectual impairmentEvidence of significant impairments in cognitive function (i.e. FSIQ less than or equal to 75), significant limitations in adaptive behaviour and evidence of onset before 18 years.
Vision impairment1. Have a least one of the following impairments in both eyes: – Impairment of the eye structure – Impairment of the optical nerve / optic pathways – Impairment of the visual cortex.
2. The athlete’s visual impairment must result in a visual acuity of less than or equal to LogMAR 1.0 or a visual field restricted to less than 20 degrees radius in both eyes.
World Para Athletics Classification Rules and Regulations (March 2017)

Talent Identification

England Athletics are always searching for para athletes or potential para athletes who aspire to progress towards a high performance standard. If you meet the following criteria we would like to hear from you via the Para Athletics Talent ID application (coming soon):

  1. Aged 12+
  2. Have an eligible impairment listed in the table above.
  3. Highly motivated to develop as a para athlete.


To find out more about the Paralympic Talent Programme, please contact:
Matt Kendrick – National Para Athletics Manager (

2023-2024 Para Academy cohort