*Courtesy of IBSA
Athletics is one of IBSA’s most wisely participated blind and low vision sports internationally, with over 70 nations regularly participating in international competition.
Competition is organised according to the IBSA Classification System, using all three classes – B1, B2 and B3. The rules of the International Athletic Associations Federation (IAAF) are followed for a range of traditional Athletics events that is more or less complete except for events such as the Hurdles races, the Steeplechase, and the Pole Vault. IAAF Rules are followed in their entirety by the class B3 athletes, but there are necessary modifications in the case of the more severe visual impairments – Class B2 and B1. Some of these modifications involve adjustments to the Athletics facilities, or to the way in which they are used. Most of the modifications regulate the way in which these classes may be given assistance (by running guides, for example, or by callers supplying auditory guidance in field events) to enable them to perform in authentic competition.
Athletics competitions for Blind and Visually Impaired athletes have a long history, and since the formation of IBSA in 1981 there has been a regular programme of international competition at a continental and world level. Presently Athletics championships at a continental level take place regularly in European and Pan American continents. The IBSA European Championships have been held every two years since 1983. Blind Athletics have been part of the FESPIC Games in the Pacific region since their inception.
Under IBSA auspices, Blind athletes competed in Paralympic Games in Long Island (1984), Seoul (1988), Barcelona (1992), Atlanta (1996) and Sydney (2000). They were also present in the pan-disability World Championships of Gothenburg (1986), Assen (1990) and Lille (2002).
IBSA conducted its first multi-sport World Championships in Madrid in 1998, and in this event, as in the 2nd IBSA World Championships and Games in Quebec City in 2003, Athletics was the blue riband sport.
In addition, I.B.S.A. has conducted Road Race competitions over the full marathon, half-marathon, and 10K distances at continental and world levels. Youth championships in track and field and in cross-country are also part of the programme of the sport.
Visit the Achilles International New Zealand website for more information on ATHLETICSs opportunity in New Zealand.