Your guide to fencing for the disabled

Wheelchair Fencing Rules

1 300x137 Wheelchair Fencing Rules

Photo by Aidan Byrne (More photos)

Wheelchair fencing rules are not too different to those of able-bodied fencing.

The competition takes place in the form of pool stages followed by direct elimination rounds. During a contest the fencers’ wheelchairs are fastened into the metal fencing frames on the floor, allowing freedom of the upper body only.

Although fencers cannot move back and forth, the fact there are no restrictions to upper body movement means duals are as exciting and fast as in non-disabled Fencing events.

Fencers record hits by striking their opponent cleanly in the valid area, with successful hits recorded by the electronic equipment.

In the Foil event, fencers are only permitted to strike the trunk area of the opponent, whereas in the Sabre and Epee, anywhere above the waist is a valid target area. In epee, an apron is worn below the waist to aid in cancellation of these touches.

Feet must remain on the footrest and the fencer must remain seated (no daylight between the fencer’s buttocks and the seat of the chair).

Bouts last a maximum of four minutes in the preliminary stages, with victory going to the first fencer to score five valid hits or the one with the most hits at the end of the four minutes. Bouts in the first round of competition are the best of nine hits. The top competitors are promoted to a direct elimination, where bouts are awarded to the first get to 15 hits.

In the knockout stages, bouts consist of three rounds of three minutes. The winner is the first to score 15 hits, or the highest scorer at the completion of the contest. In the event of a tie, an extra one-minute sudden death bout is held, with the first person to score a valid hit taking the contest.