List of Wheelchair Sports A-Z

List of Wheelchair Sports

Wheelchair sports were created to ensure all people, including those who are physically disabled, are afforded the ability to play sports. These wheelchair sports often feature modified rules, regulations, and styles of play in order to be more accessible to wheelchair users. Wheelchair sports were thought to have been invented during the 1946 Stoke Mandeville Wheelchair Games and have grown and adapted throughout the past 75 years.

Wheelchair sports have grown to be included in international competition through the Paralympic Games and other similar events. Many traditional sports have been adapted and now include wheelchair versions for physically disabled individuals. The wheelchairs used in these competitions are usually not normal wheelchairs but instead are modified to be more easily maneuvered and reach higher speeds. The wheels are also angled for stability and a more sustainable frame to prevent damage.

Wheelchair Sports List A to Z


What are wheelchair sports?

Wheelchair sports are traditional sports that have been adapted to make it easier for people with physical disabilities to compete. Athletes in these competitions use specialized wheelchairs to compete in the traditional sport with a few modifications in order to provide a high level of competition. These sports promote inclusivity and allow for more people to participate in sports.

The most popular wheelchair sports are wheelchair basketball and wheelchair tennis. Wheelchair basketball was one of the first wheelchair sports and has grown steadily in popularity over the past 60-70 years. The International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) was formed in the 1970s to provide official oversight for the sport. Wheelchair tennis has also gained momentum over time but requires more specialized equipment in most cases, making it harder to access.

What were some of the first wheelchair sports played?

The first wheelchair sports were played in 1946 during the Stoke Mandeville Wheelchair Games, and wheelchair basketball was first introduced ten years later in 1956. At the Stoke Mandeville Games, 16 injured servicemen and women took place in archery, the first wheelchair competition. The first wheelchair sports league, the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF), was formed in 1973.

What wheelchair sports are played in the Paralympics?

The Paralympics currently offer 28 sanctioned sports, 22 in the summer and six in the winter. Five of these sanctioned sports are wheelchair sports. In the summer, wheelchair athletes can participate in wheelchair basketball, fencing, rugby, and tennis. In the Winter Paralympics, wheelchair athletes can participate in wheelchair curling.