Wheelchair Fencing is an exciting, dynamic and fast paced Paralympic sport. It is played by two athletes either as an individual event or as part of a team.
Unlike non-disabled fencing, wheelchair fencing is static; the fencers are clamped to the piste using a metal frame. Beyond this, the sport is largely similar to its non-disabled counterpart. Modified swords; foil, epee and sabre, are used to score points on specific areas on the body, depending on the weapon type.
The sport was developed by the father of the Paralympic Movement, Sir Ludwig Guttmann at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. It is one of the original Paralympic sports having appeared on the programme at the first Games in Rome, Italy, in 1960.
ParalympicsGB Wheelchair Fencers Piers Gilliver and Dimitri Coutya explain their sport:
In order to compete in fencing at the Paralympic Games athletes must compete while sitting in a wheelchair. Athletes who have had a spinal cord injury (quadriplegic and paraplegic), athletes with lower leg amputations, athletes with cerebral palsy and athletes with other physical disabilities which require the use of a wheelchair are all eligible to compete in wheelchair fencing.
Fencers must meet the minimum disability criteria and be classifiable under the IWAS Wheelchair Fencing classification rules.
There are three classes:
Class A incorporates those athletes with good balance and recovery and full trunk movement
Class B those with poor balance and recovery but full use of one or both upper limbs
Class C athletes with severe physical impairment in all four limbs
WheelPower is an operating name of The British Wheelchair Sports Foundation Limited registered in England & Wales under charity number 265498 and company number 01059490 at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, Guttmann Road, Stoke Mandeville, Buckinghamshire, HP21 9PP.