In response to the increasing allegations of intentional misrepresentation (IM) and general cheating in Paralympic sport, SwimSwam has learned that the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is working on a policy to protect athletes who come forward with evidence, or “whistleblowers.”
Para athletes are classified into various categories to even the playing field within each race. Each swimmer is classified as having either a physical, visual, or intellectual impairment, and undergoes physical, technical in-sport, and technical in-competition assessments to reach a proper classification.
IM occurs when an athletes purposely throws his or her classification events in order to get placed into a more severe class.
IPC Head of Communications Craig Spence told SwimSwam:
The IPC is working on a whistelblower policy for classification. Developing such a policy is a complex process; unfortunately it is not as simple as just putting an email address or phone number on our website overnight.
We have to get everything in place first before we can launch such a procedure and this takes time.
Legally we need to change some rules within the IPC Handbook and all sport rules. We then need to ensure we have the sufficient resources recruited, trained and dedicated to such an initiative, which may include investigators, lawyers and such like.
We also have to develop the processes whereby the athletes who make the allegations are protected both domestically and internationally, while at the same time protecting the interests of those athletes who are in the correct class but are accused of cheating or being in the wrong class.
No timetable for the policy was given, but Spence also noted that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is also developing one.