The classification of sprinters with intellectual impairments: A preliminary analysis
Participation in sporting events sanctioned by the International Paralympic Committee is currently not open to athletes with intellectual impairments. This situation will persist until a valid and reliable sport-specific system is developed that can differentiate athletes with intellectual impairments from athletes without intellectual impairments. Such a system would be used to determine who is eligible for separate competitions, such as the Paralympics, and who should participate without special considerations in mainstream sport. The purpose of this study was to examine the first 30m of the sprint event to determine if there were any differences in the kinematics when athletes with intellectual impairments (n=32) were compared to athletes without intellectual impairments (n=14). Sprint performances were digitally recorded (50 Hz) and analysed using the DartFish ProSuite software programme. The data collected from these analyses were then compared using unpaired t-tests. Between-group differences were significant between 20 m and 30 m for stride frequency and in all three 10m segments for stride length (p<.05) in the acceleration phase.