Wheelchair fencing can be practised by both men and women in wheelchairs, by amputees or by those with mild cerebral palsy. The same weapon categories apply to those used in classical fencing (foil, sabre or épée).
The history of wheelchair fencing began in England in the 1950s at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital, where soldiers wounded in WW2 underwent recovery and rehabilitation.
After its debut at the 1960 Rome Olympics, it soon became a very popular all-round adapted sport that required not only physical strength, but also precision, technique and style.
Although it is not considered a well-known sport on our shores just yet, power hockey is one of the adapted sports with the greatest appeal. One of its great advantages is that it is a team sport, which can be practiced by people with different degrees of disability, making it into an integrating and social activity, especially for those with severe disabilities.
Sitting volleyball was first introduced as a demonstration in the 1976 Toronto Paralympics Games having originated in The Netherlands in 1956. Four years later, The Netherlands introduced it as a competitive sport and it has since gained popularity in over 60 countries worldwide including Australia.
As a version of the original 'standing’ volleyball, sitting volleyball is an energetic sport for people with or without physical disabilities. It is classified into two degrees of disabilities, disabled and minimum disability. The court is much smaller than the standing volleyball court measuring 6m x 10m with lowered nets – 1.15m for men and 1.05m for women.
Tennis is one of the world’s most popular sports. Its adapted format differs mainly with specially designed wheelchairs (sometimes manual and sometimes powered), as well as the ball being allowed to bounce twice.
The size of the court, the equipment (racket and ball) are just the same as in their Olympic namesake, as are the rest of the rules. In fact, the four Grand Slams all host wheelchair tennis as part of their official competitions.
The Paralympic summer games is not the only sport event worth watching – the winter games are equally exciting. Since 1976, they are held after the Olympic Winter Games. Para-skiing was the first discipline that was introduced. Throughout the years, the following sports were recognized as a Paralympic sport: para biathlon, para ice hockey, wheelchair curling, and para snowboard. Since these games are relatively young, the disciplines regularly change. For example, in the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing, bobsleigh has been announced to be a new discipline.