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Wheelchair fencing

An official watches as fencers in wheelchairs engage in competiton.

What is Wheelchair fencing?

In Wheelchair fencing, men and women Para athletes compete in a wheelchair in a special frame firmly fastened to the floor. The fencers cannot move forwards or backwards and are always at close quarters with their opponent, ensuring high intensity bouts. Like its Olympic equivalent, it is competed with foil, épée and sabre.

History of Wheelchair fencing

Fencing for those with spinal cord injuries was first developed by Sir Ludwig Guttmann at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital, and the sport was introduced at the Paralympic Games at Rome 1960.

How do you compete?

Wheelchairs are fastened to the floor during the competition. The competitors try to strike the target area on their opponent’s body using a long, blunt-tipped blade.

The goal in fencing is to score ‘hits’ or ‘touches’ on your opponent. A given number of hits (usually from five to 15) make up a ’bout’, and the first player to score that number wins the bout. Touches are recorded electronically by body wires. 

Who can compete?

Para athletes with amputations, spinal-cord injuries, cerebral palsy, degenerative neurological disorders and neurological impairments are eligible to compete in the foil, épée and saber events.

Wheelchair fencing in New Zealand

Wheelchair fencing is not currently delivered widely in New Zealand, but register your interest now and we will help you to find a Para sport for you in your local area!

For more information on Wheelchair fencing visit the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation.

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