Fencing/Wheelchair Fencing

Paralympics NZ

Fencing NZ

Wheelchair fencing was first developed by Sir Ludwig Guttmann at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital after World War 2 and took off from there, particularly in countries like England, France and Italy where there was a strong tradition in world fencing.

It was introduced to the world as a Paralympic sport at the 1960 Rome Paralympics and has grown in popularity since.

Men and women with amputations, spinal-cord injuries and cerebral palsy are eligible to compete in foil, epee (men and women) and saber (men) events.

The key difference between fencing and wheelchair fencing is that participants' wheelchairs are fastened to the floor during competition, which limits the game space. If a fencer moves, the combat is stopped.

The competition area is 4 metres long by 1.5 m wide. The fencers are connected to an electronic counting system using special sensors. These indicate if a touch is valid and, based on this, the referee decides on scoring.

It is an exciting, fast-paced sport, well worth checking out.