T46 (classification)

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Australian T46 competitor Tim Matthews at the 1996 Paralympic Games.

T46 and F46 are disability sport classification for disability athletics. People in this class have a single below or above the elbow amputation. The amputee sports equivalent class is ISOD the A6 and A8 classes. People in this class can have injuries as a result of over use of their remaining upper limb. The classification process to be included in this class has four parts: a medical exam, observation during training, observation during competition and then being classified into this class.


This classification is for disability athletics.[1] T46 is for track events and F46 is for field events.[2] This classification is one of several classifications for athletes with ambulant related disabilities. Similar classifications are T40, T42, T43, T44, T45 and T47.[3] Jane Buckley, writing for the Sporting Wheelies, describes the athletes in this classification as: "Single above elbow/Single below elbow amputation or similar disability."[1] The Australian Paralympic Committee defines this classification as being for athletes who have the "Single arm, above or below elbow amputation. Normal function in both lower limbs. Other impairments in trunk. Upper limb function in throwing."[4] After the introduction of the T47 classification in 2013, the International Paralympic Committee redefined T46 as being for athletes who: "...have a unilateral upper limb impairment that affects the shoulder and/or elbow joint of one arm and which is comparable to the activity limitations in running and jumps roughly comparable to that found in an athlete with a unilateral above elbow amputation. Athletes who have impairments of both arms, affecting elbow and wrist and roughly comparable to the activity limitations experienced by an athlete with bilateral through wrist / below elbow amputations of both arms, or an athlete with one above elbow amputation and one below elbow amputation, will also be placed in this class".[5] The International Paralympic Committee defined this classification on their website in July 2016 as, "Upper limb/s affected by limb deficiency, impaired muscle power or impaired range of movement".[6]

This class includes includes people from the ISOD A6 and A8 classes.[7][8][9][10]

Disability groups[edit]


People who are amputees compete in this class, including and A8.[8][9][11] In general, track athletes with amputations in should be considerate of the surface they are running on, and avoid asphalt and cinder tracks.[9]

Upper limb amputees[edit]

Type of amputation for an A8 classified sportsperson.
Type of amputation for an A6 classified sportsperson.

The nature of an A6 or A8 athletes's amputations in this class can effect their physiology and sports performance. Because they are missing a limb, amputees are more prone to overuse injuries in their remaining limbs. Common problems for intact upper limbs for people in this class include include rotator cuffs tearing, shoulder impingement, epicondylitis and peripheral nerve entrapment.[12]

A study of was done comparing the performance of athletics competitors at the 1984 Summer Paralympics when the ISOD classification system was in use. It found there was no significant difference in performance in times between women in A6, A7 and A8 in the discus, women in A6, A7 and A8 in the shot put, women in the A6, A7 and A8 in the long jump, women in A6, A7 and A8 in the 100 meter race, women in A5, A6, A7 and A8 in the 100 meter race, men in the A3, A4, A5, A6, A7, A8 and A9 in the discus, men in A6, A7 and A8 in the discus, men in A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, A6, A7, A8 and A9 in the javelin, men in A6, A7 and A8 in the javelin, men in A8 and A9 in the shot put, men in A6, A7 and A8 in the high jump, men in A6, A7 and A8 in the long jump, men in A6, A7 and A8 in the 100 meter race, men in A7 and A8 in the 400 meter race, and men in A7 and A8 in the 1,500 meter race.[13]


The classification was created by the International Paralympic Committee and has roots in a 2003 attempt to address "the overall objective to support and co-ordinate the ongoing development of accurate, reliable, consistent and credible sport focused classification systems and their implementation."[14] There were changes made to the class in 2008, that made the category more selective by changing the minimum criteria to be eligible to compete in this classification.[15]

For the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio, the International Paralympic Committee had a zero classification at the Games policy. This policy was put into place in 2014, with the goal of avoiding last minute changes in classes that would negatively impact athlete training preparations. All competitors needed to be internationally classified with their classification status confirmed prior to the Games, with exceptions to this policy being dealt with on a case by case basis.[16] In case there was a need for classification or reclassification at the Games despite best efforts otherwise, athletics classification was scheduled for September 4 and September 5 at Olympic Stadium. For sportspeople with physical or intellectual disabilities going through classification or reclassification in Rio, their in competition observation event is their first appearance in competition at the Games.[16]

Becoming classified[edit]

Classification is often based on the anatomical nature of the amputation.[17][18] The classification system takes several things into account when putting people into this class. These includes which limbs are effected, how many limbs are effected, and how much of a limb is missing.[19][20]

For this class, classification generally has four phase. The first stage of classification is a health examination. For amputees, this is often done on site at a sports training facility or competition. The second stage is observation in practice, the third stage is observation in competition and the last stage is assigning the sportsperson to a relevant class.[21] Sometimes the health examination may not be done on site because the nature of the amputation could cause not physically visible alterations to the body.[22] During the training portion of classification, observation may include being asked to demonstrate their skills in athletics, such as running, jumping or throwing. A determination is then made as to what classification an athlete should compete in. Classifications may be Confirmed or Review status. For athletes who do not have access to a full classification panel, Provisional classification is available; this is a temporary Review classification, considered an indication of class only, and generally used only in lower levels of competition.[23]


Notable athletes in this class include T46 world record holders Heath Francis (AUS), Gunther Matzinger (AUT) and Yunidis Castillo (CUB). Ajibola Adeoye's T46 100m world record, set at the 1992 Summer Paralympics,[24] has not yet been beaten.[25] Simon Patmore (AUS) and South African sprinter Zivan Smith[26] also run in this class.[citation needed]

Madeleine Hogan (AUS) is a field competitor in this class, winner of the F46 javelin event at the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b Buckley, Jane (2011). "Understanding Classification: A Guide to the Classification Systems used in Paralympic Sports". Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  2. ^ "Athletics classifications explained". UK public service broadcaster Channel 4. 26 Apr 2012. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  3. ^ "Summer Sports » Athletics". Australia: Australian Paralympic Committee. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  4. ^ "Classification Information Sheet" (PDF). Sydney, Australia. 16 November 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  5. ^ "Athletics Classification". IPC. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  6. ^ "IPC Athletics Classification & Categories". www.paralympic.org. Retrieved 2016-07-22. 
  7. ^ Tweedy, Sean M.; Beckman, Emma M.; Connick, Mark J. (August 2014). "Paralympic Classification: Conceptual Basis, Current Methods, and Research Update" (PDF). Paralympic Sports Medicine and Science 6 (85). Retrieved July 25, 2016. 
  8. ^ a b "CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM FOR STUDENTS WITH A DISABILITY". Queensland Sport. Queensland Sport. Retrieved July 23, 2016. 
  9. ^ a b c "Classification 101". Blaze Sports. Blaze Sports. June 2012. Retrieved July 24, 2016. 
  10. ^ Subic, A.; Fuss, F. K.; Alam, F.; Pang, T. Y.; Takla, M.; Mally, Franziska; Litzenberger, Stefan; Sabo, Anton (2015-01-01). "'The Impact of Technology on Sport VI' 7th Asia-Pacific Congress on Sports Technology, APCST2015Kinematics of Elite Unilateral Below-elbow Amputee Treadmill-running - A Case Study". Procedia Engineering 112: 449–454. doi:10.1016/j.proeng.2015.07.223. 
  11. ^ Consejo Superior de Deportes (2011). Deportistas sin Adjectivos (PDF) (in Spanish). Spain: Consejo Superior de Deportes. 
  12. ^ Miller, Mark D.; Thompson, Stephen R. (2014-04-04). DeLee & Drez's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. Elsevier Health Sciences. ISBN 9781455742219. 
  13. ^ van Eijsden-Besseling, M. D. F. (1985). "The (Non)sense of the Present-Day Classification System of Sports for the Disabled, Regarding Paralysed and Amputee Athletes" (PDF). Paraplegia (International Medical Society of Paraplegia) 23. Retrieved July 25, 2016. 
  14. ^ "Paralympic Classification Today". International Paralympic Committee. 22 April 2010. p. 3. 
  15. ^ Tweedy, Sean (16 July 2010). "Research Report - IPC Athletics Classification Project for Physical Impairments" (PDF). Queensland, Australiaa: International Paralympic Committee. p. 43. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  16. ^ a b "Rio 2016 Classification Guide" (PDF). International Paralympic Committee. International Paralympic Committee. March 2016. Retrieved July 22, 2016. 
  17. ^ Pasquina, Paul F.; Cooper, Rory A. (2009-01-01). Care of the Combat Amputee. Government Printing Office. ISBN 9780160840777. 
  18. ^ DeLisa, Joel A.; Gans, Bruce M.; Walsh, Nicholas E. (2005-01-01). Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: Principles and Practice. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. ISBN 9780781741309. 
  19. ^ Tweedy, Sean M. (2002). "Taxonomic Theory and the ICF: Foundations for a Unified Disability Athletics Classification" (PDF). ADAPTED PHYSICAL ACTIVITY QUARTERLy 19: 220–237. Retrieved July 25, 2016. 
  20. ^ International Sports Organization for the Disabled. (1993). Handbook. Newmarket, ON: Author. Available Federacion Espanola de Deportes de Minusvalidos Fisicos, c/- Ferraz, 16 Bajo, 28008 Madrid, Spain.
  21. ^ Tweedy, Sean M.; Beckman, Emma M.; Connick, Mark J. (August 2014). "Paralympic Classification: Conceptual Basis, Current Methods, and Research Update" (PDF). Paralympic Sports Medicine and Science 6 (85). Retrieved July 25, 2016. 
  22. ^ Gilbert, Keith; Schantz, Otto J.; Schantz, Otto (2008-01-01). The Paralympic Games: Empowerment Or Side Show?. Meyer & Meyer Verlag. ISBN 9781841262659. 
  23. ^ "CLASSIFICATION Information for Athletes" (PDF). Sydney Australia: Australian Paralympic Committee. 2 July 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  24. ^ "Barcelona 1992 Paralympic Games - Athletics - Men's 100 m TS4". International Paralympic Committee. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  25. ^ "IPC Athletics World Records". International Paralympic Committee. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  26. ^ Zivan Smith, retrieved 22 September 2012