Marshall Milton Keynes – Disabled Athletes
The club has a policy to encourage sports amongst athletes of all abilities. Prospective members with disability are encouraged to contact our disability coach to discuss training options:
Disability Coach: Ken Green
Two of the club’s more recent recruits are Lucie Prosser and Thomas Green. Lucie and Thomas are disabled athletes who come under the classification system covered by Cerebral Palsy Sport.
The classification system for disabled sport is both comprehensive and complicated, some may even say at times confusing. There are over 40 levels of classification that apply to athletes covering ranges of disabilities such as sight impairment, amputees, spine injuries, dwarfs and cerebral palsy.
The CP Sport classifications cover both wheelchair and ambulant competitors who have varying degrees of cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is defined for these purposes as a permanent, non-progressive brain injury which has been present since birth or since the athlete was an infant. There are eight classifications; four are for wheelchair athletes or athletes who compete from a seated position (CP1 – CP4) and four are for ambulant athletes (CP5 – CP8) these transfer directly on to the international paralympic classifications 31 – 38. An athlete has two classifications, one for track (prefixed by T) and one for field (prefixed F) these are usually the same classification level, but they do not have to be. The allocated classification depends on the level of impairment of movement and control, the more severely affected athletes having the lower classification numbers i.e. CP1 athletes are the most affected by their disability.
Classification takes place at a number of different levels. The first classification will usually be at a regional level or at an event which is not a national championship. As an athlete competes at higher levels they will be reclassified at national, international and paralympic level. The highest level of classification always takes precedence and is not changed until the next classification at that level. Thus an athlete whose classification is changed to a higher level at international event will not be able to get it reviewed until the next international event, and then only if they qualify for the event at the higher classification level they have been given. Changes are not uncommon as, though there are comprehensive guidelines for each classification, there is always a degree of subjectivity in the process. This can result in an athlete arriving at an event, being reclassified and having to return without competing as they do not reach the qualifying standard at the higher classification.
Lucie is a class six (F36) javelin thrower and (T36) track athlete running in the 100m and 200m. Lucie holds the national records for the F36 javelin, the U17 60m and the U15 100m.
Thomas is a class one (F31) and throws the discus, the javelin ball and the club. The club is similar to a weighted Indian club and is thrown at adult level by the three most disabled classes of athlete, F31, F32 and the spinal injury class F51. Thomas has to compete as a F32 at most events as there are too few F31 athletes to provide competition. Thomas holds the national records for F31 club, javelin ball and discus. He has also bettered the U17 F32 discus record this season.
CP Sport runs a Grand Prix Series of athletics meetings throughout the season in various locations around the country. This year there are five events starting at Loughborough and finishing in August at Gateshead. The competition is based on performance against the athlete’s personal best as at the end of the previous season. An athlete needs to attend at least 3 of the events with their best 3 scores counting. There are prizes for the best track male, best track female, best field male and best field female.
CP Sport also holds the national athletics championships for F31 – 38 and T31 – 38 classes. These are usually held in September.
Disability Sport Events (DSE) runs two major athletics events every summer. They organise the national junior championships in Blackpool and an adult International Open Event in Manchester. Both of these events are multi-disability.