International Paralympic Committee President Andrew Parsons said the organisation are working with International Federations to adjust qualification criteria for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics following the rescheduling of the Games.
The Paralympic Games are now set to take place from August 24 to September 5 next year.
The dates were revealed last week, following the postponement of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the Japanese capital due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 1.5 million people and killed over 92,000 people.
Qualification events for the Paralympic Games were cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic.
Parsons said the IPC was encouraging International Federations to attempt to set up similar competitions to the cancelled events when sport can resume, enabling athletes to have their chance to qualify for the Games.
Athletes who have already qualified for the Paralympic Games are assured of their places at Tokyo 2020.
“With the new dates for the Games all of the IFs are having to adjust the established qualification criteria, but the principles of the criteria remain the same,” Parsons said.
“IFs are encouraged to follow a like-for-like approach, replacing lost qualification opportunities for similar events in the future.
“The slots that have been obtained by athletes for their National Paralympic Committee by March 24 should not be changed.
“We understand that a sport specific balance needs to be found to protect those athletes who were close to qualifying in 2020 and for those who will be the top performers in the 2021 season when it is back.
“Each International Federation has discretion to set a new deadline for athletes to become eligible to become selectable by their NPC.”
Parsons said postponement of the Paralympic Games would provide enough time for athletes to be classified.
“We don’t have a number yet, as it depends on the new qualification criteria,” Parsons said.
“It depends a lot, as we might have some new athletes coming and due to the postponement we might have more additional athletes that are new.
“We have some numbers in the sports where we are the International Federation, but it is a big number of athletes that we need to classify.
“It is not a majority, but some need to be reassessed and some are under review and need to be classified again.
“It will depend a lot of the qualification criteria per sport.
“Once this has been established, we can have a better idea as we are working with them on qualification and providing classification opportunities.
“If athletes have a confirmed status they do not need to worry, as this will be respected.
“Review status comes with a date and this date will be respected.”
The IPC President also said the organisation and the International Tennis Federation would likely freeze changes to the classification process.
New ITF classification rules are due to come into force in January, concluding an ongoing transition period.
Parsons said the date had been set with the Paralympic Games in mind, so expects the new regulations to be delayed to enable players to compete at Tokyo 2020.