Monday, November 28, 2016

Wheelchair Fencing

Wheelchair fencing, a summer Paralympic sport, is a version of fencing for athletes with a disability. The sport is governed by the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation which is the federation of the International Paralympic Committee.4 Wheelchair fencing was introduced into the International Stoke Mandeville Games in 1954. In 1982 the ISMG gratefully accepted the gift of four sets of fencing frames from the Dutch Member Federation, which both established the wheelchairs and fixed the distance between the fencers. Minor adjustments included the consideration of lightness of equipment and the facility to more quickly accommodate fencers taking into account the important consideration of left and right-handed fencers. Today in the late 2000's, effort continues to find the ultimate fencing frame. The new, extremely lightweight frames used at the Paralympic Games from 2000 to now in 2016.1

Depending the athlete’s disability, they would be in classifications A, B, or C. Athletes under Class A have full trunk movement and good balance. Class B athletes have no leg movement and impaired trunk and balance functions. Class C athletes have a disability in all four limbs, not included in the Paralympic games program.4 The rules include the fixed distance between fencers; the fencing measurement for epee and sabre is to the outer elbow, and for foil is the inner forearm. The target for foil and sabre competitions is exactly the same as for able-bodied competitions. In epee, the target is everything about the waist, with a conductive apron worn below the waist to aid in cancellation of these touches. Feet must remain on the footrest and the fencer must remain seated. The chair must be fixed at a 110 degrees angle to the central bar.2
The United States of America Paralympic Team sent two athletes to the Paralympic games this past summer to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Neither one of them medaled. Lauryn DeLuca from Parma, Ohio, competed in the Paralympics this past summer. She is a Class A athlete and her event is Epee. She currently attends Parma Senior High School and will graduate in 2018. She is the 2016 Wheelchair Pan American Champion, 2015 USA Fencing National Champion, and won the silver and bronze medal in the 2015 Wheelchair Pan American Championship. DeLuca, who suffers from cerebral palsy, was an able-bodied fencer until 2013 when she was recruited by USA Fencing to compete in wheelchair fencing.3

1Federation, I. W. (2016). History. Retrieved from International Wheelchair & Amputee Sports Federation:
2 Fencing, U. (2016). Rules. Retrieved from USA Fencing:
3USA, T. (2016). Lauryn DeLuca - Fencing. Retrieved from Team USA:
4Wikipedia. (2016, September 16). Wheelchair Fencing. Retrieved from Wikipedia:

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