The Future of Seated Throws

Haven’t posted since my operation last Thursday but there’s not much to report. Sadly the arthroscopy was unable to be performed as my hip is too badly worn and the prognosis is that I’m going to need a hip replacement sooner or later. Hopefully some decisions will be made in the near future.

The IPC conference is coming up soon and the main topic of conversation is the future of seated throws and what to do with the lifting rule. I’m just a mere athlete so no one cares what I think, but for the record and  because I’m a self-obsessed little Nazi, here’s what I think…

I’m very concerned about the state of seated  throws, in fact I’m concerned about the state of disability throws in general, particularly in the CP classes. I’ve noticed an alarming trend recently in the way athletes with CP are being classified and I don’t think the lifting law has anything to do with the problems. Lower disability athletes are being pushed out of the sport because athletes with minimal disability are being put into classes they simply shouldn’t be in.

 To say that typical class 7s are now unable to compete in the class 7 classification and should be allowed to compete sitting down is very alarming – surely you are either a class 7 or you’re not, and if you’re not competitive then its just tough luck. It’s already happened in the class 5s, in that typical class 5s aren’t competitive anymore in that class, so to keep numbers in the sport IPC has allowed them to compete as class 4s, meaning that typical class 4s are no longer competive. It all filters down and where does it end? Its going to end where the seated classes are for ambulant athletes who aren’t competitive in their ambulant class.

 I’m now basically competiting against class 6s and borderline 3s and 4s that are competing as 2s, and typical 2s aren’t competitive – I’m holding on by the skin of my teeth but in Beijing I was told I needed to get reclassified as a 1, which I just found was crazy. I find the whole thing crazy, the classification system has slipped as IPC try to accomodate more able athletes who can throw futher and who look good on TV, the way it is now they might as well rip up the classification system and start again, as genuine seated throwers are being pushed out, just like CP 3 and 4 wheelies were a while ago.

 On the lifting rule I think taking out the rule that part of the upper thigh should remain in contact with the frame was a mistake, but I agree that athletes should start the throw in a seated position, it should be the start of the throw and not the start of a wind up, where an athlete goes forward to come back again – I feel this would be fairly easy to enforce. Of course the easiest way to sort out the lifting law would be to say athletes must keep both buttocks in contact with the seat for the duration of the throw – but I doubt IPC would agree to restricting their ambulant seated throwers in such a way – but do we want fair competition or big distances?

I always thought I had helped to opened the door for lower disabilities to compete in athletics but it looks like the door is being shut.


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