Wheelchair Fencing

Romain Noble of France fences during his Men's Épée category A final match against Yanfei Duan of China at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. (Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

What's it all about?

Ever stared in awe at a lightsaber? Or wanted to swash your buckle with some pirates? Sounds like you’re into swords. Then welcome to the thrilling world of wheelchair fencing!

How it's played

Things to watch for

two athletes in wheelchairs with aprons on their laps that cover their legs as well
Jing Bian of China competes with Xufeng Zou of China in the women's individual épée category at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. (Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters)
Metal aprons
  • Hits are only allowed above the waist.
  • They cover their body from the waist down with a protective metal apron to make sure no hits register from their legs.
Two athletes in their wheelchairs with their swords out and you can see the metal frames on the ground
Daoliang Hu of China competes against Alim Latrech of France during the Men's Team Category during the London 2012 Paralympic Games. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
It's a fix
  • Athletes are only able to use their upper body to compete.
  • Wheelchairs are fixed into a metal frame on the floor. 
  • The athlete with the shortest arm reach decides the distance between the wheelchairs.
Close-up of fencing outfit showing the metal mesh headgear
Baili Wu of China competes during the Women's team wheelchair fencing at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
  • In foil and sabre competitions, the metallic jacket is called a lamé
  • It covers the valid target area and automatically registers any valid touches on the scoring machine.