What is Wheelchair Fencing?

What is Wheelchair Fencing? How does Wheelchair Fencing work? Get ready to learn about Wheelchair Fencing and discover how to be a fan, player, or coach. Start your journey to understanding Wheelchair Fencing here.

What is Wheelchair Fencing?

Wheelchair fencing is an adaption of fencing designed so that people with disabilities can practice the sport. Since fencing is a sport where leg work and movement is very important, any lower limb or spinal cord impediment will make it difficult to practice it. Wheelchair fencing solves that issue, by having athletes sitting in a wheelchair at all times, which is fixed and does not move. The sport was first presented in 1954, and become part of the Paralympic Games shortly after, in 1960.

How do you play Wheelchair Fencing?

The goal of fencing is to use a sword-like weapon to touch your opponent and score a point. Like able-bodied fencing, there are three different weapons; foil, saber, and epee, in wheelchair fencing, each with different rules and valid target areas.  In wheelchair fencing, the legs are not a valid touch area in any of the weapons. To defend themselves from being touched, athletes must use their weapons, and trunk movement. Because trunk control is such a big part of the sport, wheelchair fencing is divided into two categories; one for athletes with good trunk control, and one for athletes with limited trunk control.

Wheelchair fencing requires extremely quick arm movement and weapon control. Because fencers are in such close distance all the time, there is always action happening in a match, and it is hard to find a sport in which the athletes involved are in a closer and more disputed battle than in wheelchair fencing.