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Sight classification research at 2017 IBSA Judo European Championships

Date: April 14, 2017

Category: Judo

In an effort to improve the classification system for judo, researchers from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) will attend the 2017 IBSA Judo European Championships in the United Kingdom (August 3 – 6), and they need your help.

The aim of the research is to examine how different types of vision impairment impact judo performance. This will help to determine whether new tests of vision impairment such as tests of motion perception, contrast sensitivity, and sensitivity to light should be included in classification.

All judokas attending the 2017 IBSA Judo European Championships will be invited to participate. Participating judokas will take part in a range of visual tests and receive personal feedback on their test results. The tests can be administered at a time convenient to the athlete during their stay in the UK and testing will not interfere with the planning of events during either the tournament or the training camp.

Results of the visual tests will be compared to the outcome of competition at the IBSA Judo European Championships as well as other VI judo tournaments, to examine which tests best explain the impact of vision impairment on judo performance. Individual test results will be used for research purposes only, and will not be available to classifiers, so they can in no way impact the current classification of athletes. We are interested in testing all athletes, irrespective of their level of vision.

Further information on the classification research to take place will be send out to all National Federations participating in the 2017 IBSA Judo European Championships. For any questions or considerations regarding this research, please get in contact with VU researcher Kai Krabben at [email protected].

Background information

Judo is one of the most popular sports for people with vision impairment. To maximise the fairness of competition for all athletes in VI judo, the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) is evaluating the present classification system. IBSA helps to fund the VU Classification Research and Development Centre for athletes with vision impairment to develop new, evidence-based criteria for classification based on the specific visual demands of judo.

As a first step, researchers of the VU interviewed a panel of experts in VI judo (consisting of athletes – active and retired, coaches and administrators) on the specific needs of a new classification system for judokas with vision impairment. This expert panel clearly identified the need for a new, evidence-based classification criteria for VI judo. In particular, they identified the need for additional tests not currently used in classification to better account for the impact of impairment on performance in judo.

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