In this study, we aimed to establish expert opinion on the requirements for an evidence-based classification system for VI judo, where currently judoka’s with vision impairment (VI) compete in the same class irrespective of their level of impairment. A panel of experts was canvased for a large range of issues related to classification in judo.

The panel consisted of 18 athletes, coaches, and administrators. They participated in a three-round Delphi review process. The panel expressed that change is need in the manner in which VI judokas are classified. Specifically, they expressed that: (i) blind and partially sighted athletes should not compete against each other in the same class; (ii) additional measures of visual function might be needed to accurately evaluate an athlete’s impairment; (iii) the minimum impairment criteria (MIC) should represent a more severe level of impairment to ensure that all those included possess a level of VI that indeed decreases performance in judo; and (iv) legitimate competition could be undermined by some athletes intentionally underperforming on classification tests. The panel identified six additional measures of visual function which are not currently measured but are likely to impact judo performance, and six aspects of judo performance which are most likely impacted by VI.

Krabben, K.J., Ravensbergen, R.H.J.C., Nakamoto, H., & Mann, D.L. (2019). The development of evidence-based classification of vision impairment in judo: A Delphi study. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 98. [full text]