at the invictus games


At the INVICTUS GAMES DÜSSELDORF 2023, competitors with similar capabilities are grouped together, in a process called categorisation. It enables participants to compete fairly across all sports, regardless of their impairment. So, what does that mean?

Categorisation means assessing how much of an impact a person’s impairment has on their sports performance, rather than their diagnosis or medical evaluation. This functional system is sports-specific, as any given impairment may have a minor impact in one sport, but a significant impact in another.

All physical, functional, sensory and psychological impairments and other visible and non-visible injuries are eligible to compete at the Invictus Games, and of the 10 sports being staged in Düsseldorf, nine benefit from this categorisation process. Powerlifting is the exception, as it is contested in weight categories.

For participants in individual sports (archery, athletics, cycling, indoor rowing, swimming and table tennis), each category has a sport code, which is always structured in the same way, reflecting the sport and the severity of impairment.

For example:IA1

I = Invictus
A = Sport code (in this case archery)
1 = Category of impairment (in this case competitors who need to be seated)

Participants in team sports (sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby) are assigned points depending on the impact of their impairment:
1 = Maximum (most severe)
2 = Moderate
3 = Open

Some other terms that you might hear a lot during the Games include:
PI – permanent impairment
MFI – minimal functional impairment (can also refer to competitors with psychological impairment)
VI – visual impairment

Author:Emma Storey

Click here to learn more about the individual categories in each sport.