Paralympic Sports A-Z: Wheelchair fencing
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Paralympic Sports A-Z: Wheelchair fencing

August 10, 2019

Developed in the years after World War II,
wheelchair fencing was first introduced in Rome in 1960 and has been part of the Paralympic
programme ever since. Similar to able-bodied fencing, three types
of weapon are used: foil, epee and sabre. The aim is to hit your opponent with your
weapon in the permitted target areas: the torso in the foil discipline and anything
above the waist in sabre and epee. The fencer’s wheelchairs are fixed to the
floor at an angle of 110 degrees to allow the fencer’s sword arms to directly oppose
each other. The distance between opponents is decided
by the fencer with the shorter arm reach. Fencers may not rise from a seated position
during the bout. All wheelchair fencers have an impairment
of their legs or feet and compete in two classes: A and B. Fencers in category A have good trunk control,
whereas category B athletes have an impairment that impacts their trunk or their fencing
arm. Competitors are connected electronically to
a scoring box that records hits on their opponent. In the initial rounds, each bout lasts three
minutes and the first fencer to score five hits wins. In the knockout stages of the competition,
each bout consists of three three-minute rounds, with the first to score 15 hits declared the
winner. Teams consist of three fencers who face each
member of the opposing team for three minutes or until one Fencer reaches a multiple of
five hits. The score accumulates until one team scores
45 hits or has the highest score when time runs out for the last bout. If scores are tied, a further minute of sudden
death will be contested. Wheelchair fencing is close quarters combat
at its best: a fierce, fast moving battle of tactics and technique.

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