Hosted by the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport (PHC) with the British Paralympic Association (BPA) and the English Institute of Sport (EIS), the event promoted open discussions in classification, welcoming individuals from the University of Queensland, BPA, British Athletics, UK Sport, British Triathlon, the University of Edinburgh, EIS, British Equestrian, and Manchester Metropolitan University.
Professor Vicky Tolfrey, Sport Performance SSEHS strand leader and Director of the PHC, explained:
“This opportunity was made possible through the funding of the Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) and certainly was a great exemplar of the aims of the IAS as we were able to promote the interdisciplinary nature of Paralympic sports classification.”
Amongst the delegates was Dr Emma Beckman, who had travelled from the University of Queensland in Australia. Emma has extensive knowledge of Paralympic classification and was thrilled to share her expertise with the room:
“I was absolutely blown away by the high-quality discussion, thoughtfulness, engagement and passion that drove the day. It was such an important reminder that so many different groups have a huge stake in classification, and all have valid and important contributions to make to its future. I'm excited to keep working with the exceptional team from the PHC and Loughborough University on important projects in classification and Para Sport.”
Iain Gowans, Classification Manager, British Paralympic Association, echoed Emma’s thoughts:
“I'm extremely grateful to Loughborough University for resourcing Emma's trip from Queensland across to the UK. It provided a unique and invaluable opportunity to bring Emma's extensive knowledge and experience in evidence-based classification research together with British-based academics also working in this field, key decision makers in Paralympic sport in the UK and practitioners that support our Paralympic athletes.
“I had high expectations of the valuable conversations we would have, and these were exceeded. I'm eager to collaborate further and build on the momentum we achieved on the day.”
Loughborough University is recognised as a world leader in disability sport research, with many elite level para-athletes using the University’s enviable facilities.