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
The teams: There are both team and individual competitions and three types of swords: sabres, épées and foils.
The bouts: Bouts (or matches) move fast! Foil and épée events last three periods of three minutes each with a one-minute break between each period. In the sabre bout, there’s a break after an athlete scores eight touches (check out some photos below).
The equipment: There are protective clothing and a mask, three types of swords, a protective skirt for épée matches and all athletes compete in specialized wheelchairs.
The swordplay: Swords are used to try and touch designated point areas on an opponent's body. All while avoiding being hit by their opponent’s sword!
The points: One point for every successful touch or hit. The first to 15 points wins!
The athletes: Strategy rules! Fencers have to anticipate where their opponent will try to strike next and avoid getting hit.
Did you know? Wheelchair fencing was part of the first Paralympic Games in Rome, but only Italy competed, so they won all the medals!
Things to watch for
- 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.
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.
- 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.