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Para Table Tennis Classifications- Explained

Para Table Tennis Explained

Table Tennis for disabled athletes is called Para Table Tennis. Although the rules used are set by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), they differ quite a bit from those used for able bodied athletes.  Para Table Tennis has been a part of the Paraolympics since the first Games in Rome 1960, and is now practiced by athletes in more than 100 different countries across the globe.  Athletes from all physical impairment groups, aside from the visually impaired, are allowed to compete in standing or sitting classes. Intellectually impaired athletes also compete within a designated class.  Men and women can participate in individual, doubles or team events.  Matches consist of five sets of 11 points each and are played in a best-of-five format. Here is a breakdown of the different classes and some examples of players and matches within each.

Natalia

Photo: ITTF

Classifications

Players receive a classification between 1-11,  these classes are categories used to group athletes based on their functional ability and resulting impairment.  These factors aid in determining an athlete's eligibility to compete equitably.
This classification process is done per athlete examination conducted by officers appointed by the the ITTF Para-Table Tennis committee. Class 1-5 are for those in wheelchairs and class 6-10 for those who have disabilities that allow them to play standing. Within those groups the higher classification means the more function the athlete has. Class 11 is defined for players with an intellectual disability.

Class 1


VIDEO: Sport Singapore

Details

These players have no sitting balance and a severely affected playing arm due to a spinal-cord lesion or polio.

Class 1 Matches:

VIDEO: Paralympic Games

Class 2


VIDEO: Sport Singapore

Details

Athletes in this class also have no sitting balance, but their playing arm is less affected than described in Class 1.

Class 2 Matches:

VIDEO: Paralympic Games

Class 3


VIDEO: Sport Singapore

Details

Athletes in this class also have no sitting balance, but their playing arm is less affected than described in Class 1.

Class 3 Matches:
 

VIDEO: Paralympic Games

Class 4


VIDEO: Sport Singapore

Details

Competitors have fair sitting balance and fully functional arms and hands. Their impairment may be due to a lower spinal-cord lesion or cerebral palsy.

Class 4 Matches:

VIDEO: Paralympic Games

Class 5


VIDEO: Sport Singapore

Details

This class includes athletes who compete in a wheelchair but who have a normal sitting balance, arm and hand function. The athletes have the most physical functionality of those in a wheelchair.

Class 5 Matches:
 

VIDEO: Paralympic Games

Class 6


VIDEO: Sport Singapore

Details

Players in this class stand, yet they have severe impairments in both their arms and legs due to incomplete spinal-cord injuries, neurological conditions which affect both or one side of the body, amputations or congenital conditions. Some players even handle the racket with their mouths.

Class 6 Matches:

VIDEO: Paralympic Games

Class 7


VIDEO: Sport Singapore

Details

Athletes in this class have a severe impairment of the legs or the playing arm, but less severe than those described in Class 6. For example, a player with an amputation of both arms above the elbow could compete in this category.

Class 7 Matches:
 

VIDEO: ITTF Para Table Tennis

Class 8


VIDEO: Sport Singapore

Details

Athletes with a moderate impairment of the legs or a moderately affected playing arm compete in this class. Stiffness of both knees or a below-the-elbow amputation of the playing arm are cases that qualify.

Class 8 Matches:
 

VIDEO: Paralympic Games

Class 9


VIDEO: Sport Singapore

Details

This class is for athletes with a mild impairment that affects the legs or playing arm. Some athletes have a severe impairment of the non-playing arm, such as an amputation above the elbow. Athletes with a stiff knee or restricted range of motion in a joint of the playing arm may also compete in this class.

Class 9 Matches:
 

VIDEO: ITTF Para Table Tennis

Class 10


VIDEO: Sport Singapore

Details

Athletes with a minimal impairment compete in this category. This can include a stiff ankle or wrist of the playing arm. Players with short stature may also participate.

Class 10 Matches:
 

VIDEO:ITTF Para Table Tennis

Class 11


VIDEO: Sport Singapore

Details

This is for athletes with an intellectual impairment who also meet sport-specific criteria for Para-Table Tennis.

Class 11 Matches:

VIDEO: Paralympic Games

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