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Disability competition schedule and classification information

Disability Bowls August is about raising the profile of the Sport and the opportunities within it. DBE therefore has compiled a list of national events which take place annually around the country, some of these are multi disabled whereas some relate to a specific disability, see table below;-

MARCH Ann Trottman Singles Multi Disabled Event Nottingham
VIBE Indoor Pairs Visually Impaired Scarborough
APRIL Singles Tournament Visually Impaired Weston-Super-Mare
MAY UK Club Triples Visually Impaired Worthing
JUNE Open pairs event Multi Disabled Nottingham
National Singles Visually Impaired Leamington Spa
Matchplay Pairs Wheelchair TBC
JULY Plant Welding Triples Multi Disabled Nottingham
Hastings Open Visually Impaired Hastings
AUGUST National Triples Visually Impaired Worthing
Outdoor Triples Wheelchair Isle of Wedmore
National Singles Ambulant Disabled Mablethorpe
SEPTEMBER UK Indoor Singles Visually Impaired Erewash
National Singles and Pairs Wheelchair TBC
National Indoor Singles Ambulant Disabled Tamworth
OCTOBER National Drawn Pairs Ambulant Disabled Tamworth
NOVEMBER Disability Bowls England Masters Multi Disabled (Selected) Nottingham
  • The above list may not include all events or details may have changed since time of print.

If you would like to received more information about any of the events listed above please email

There are also some international events which take place, these are IBD World Championships, Commonwealth Games and International test matches between the Home Countries. Although classification does not impact in a lot of our national events they do however on International events. DBE has prepared some brief notes on this below, for full information you should contact us, or refer to

Development of a sport specific classification system
Emphasis has been taken away from the medical diagnosis, and placed directly onto function. Athletes are put into classes according to their level of function, rather than according to their diagnosis.
Athletes are assessed using measures of:

  • Muscle strength
  • Range of joint movement (ROM)
  • Co-ordination
  • Amputation
  • Body height
  • Balance

The importance of these various factors will differ with each sport, thus classification becomes sport specific eg balance is much more important in lawn bowls than in swimming. The length of an amputated leg is more important in swimming, where no prosthesis is worn, than in lawn bowls, where the athlete wears a prosthesis.

In the sport specific classification system, a class will usually include a variety of different medical diagnoses.

Bowling functions Considered when classifying a bowler with a physical disability

  • Balance: Especially for the delivery of the jack and bowls.
  • Grip: Ability to hold a bowl and release the bowl during delivery. Some bowlers will need smaller bowls, or splints to assist with jack and/or bowl delivery.
  • Upper body strength: Bowlers with weakness in the upper body may not be able to play long ends and will need to play on a shortened rink.

With these functions identified, the system consists of 4 classes, with a mixture of ambulant and wheelchair athletes in each.

Classes for bowlers with Physical disabilities are:
B5 – B8 with B8 class having the least impairment of function
(B1 – B4 classes are for bowlers with a Visual Impairment)

Minimal Disability

  • A bowler must have lost at least 10 points to be eligible for classification.
  • Bowlers are eligible to compete in IPC sanctioned events if they have a physical disability that causes or ought to cause a noticeable impairment of function while bowling.
  • Physical Disability is any birth defect, injury, surgery, or disease process, which causes a medically evident permanent impairment of physical function
  • Disability solely due to mental or psychological causes, or to disorders which could be corrected by the bowler, such as obesity, is not considered eligible for competition, even if it causes noticeable impairment of function while bowling

Bowler’s and NPC’s responsibility for classification
It is the bowler’s responsibility to be sure that they are properly classified before competing in an IBD sanctioned event, They must either produce a current and valid classification card on registering for an event, or, if they have not been classified, be sure their name is on the schedule for classification at the event. Bowlers with an R or an N status classification must also ensure that they are on the list to obtain a P classification by an International classifier.

N = new classification, not performed by an international classifier
R = review classification, for bowler’s whose condition is likely to change Eg multiple sclerosis
P = permanent classification, performed by an international classifier

Once a bowler has been classified by an International Classifier, a classification card will be posted out to him/her by the IBD Bowls Classifier.

Visually Impaired (B1-B4)

B1 No light perception in either eye up to light perception but no recognition of hand movements at any distance or any direction.
B2 From the ability to recognize hand movements up to a visual acuity of 2/60 (Snellen).
B3 From a visual acuity of better than 2/60 (Snellen) up to a visual acuity of 6/60
B4 A visual acuity of better than 6/60 (Snellen) up to a visual acuity of worse than 6/24 (Snellen) and/or a visual field of less than 20 degrees.

Quadriplegic (B5)

B5 Ambulant and wheelchair bowlers with restricted grip and upper body limb function, poor balance and co-ordination, unable to bowl a full length end or needing a splinting device to do so.

Physically Disabled (B6-B8)

B6 Ambulant and wheelchair bowlers with reduced balance function (loss of 5 points or more) but able to bowl a full length end.
B7 Ambulant and wheelchair bowlers with minor balance problems (loss of less than 5 points).
B8 Ambulant bowlers, who have a permanent and irreversible disability, have lost 10 points on the bench test, but have no noticeable impairment of function.

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