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From a spectator's point of view, the most striking feature of Wheelchair Fencing is the fact that athletes compete in wheelchairs that are fastened to the floor. However, these chairs allow the fencers freedom of movement and the activity is as fast-paced as in fencing competitions for non-disabled.
The official governing body is the International Wheelchair Fencing Committee (IWFC), which is part of the International Stoke Mandeville Wheelchair Sport Federation (ISMWSF). This sport was introduced at the 1960 Paralympic Games in Rome and there are 24 countries practicing Wheelchair Fencing today.
Men and women who are amputees, paraplegics or athletes with cerebral palsy are eligible to compete in individual and team events (three fencers to a team) including Foil, Epee (men and women) and Sabre (men).
Athletes who use wheelchairs are eligible to compete in Wheelchair Fencing. There are two classes of athletes depending on trunk and fencing arm abilities. Class A is for those athletes with full trunk and hand movement, Class B of for fencers with limitations in trunk balance.
Rules & Equipment
The wheelchair is a primary piece of equipment. It is fixed to a metal frame in the competition area to maintain stability. The inside rear wheel should be covered by metal detachable shields. The chair may be cushioned.
Fencers who have a significant loss of grip or control of the sword are allowed to attach the sword into the hand using a bandage or similar type of wrapping. A glove may be worn and binding should cover sleeve opening. Legs must also be well protected by extra thick clothes or an apron. Athletes compete with the same equipment as able-bodied fencers. Weapons include the foil, épée and sabre.
More information can be found on the following sites.