Wheelchairs, an unsuspecteted aspect

The 2023 International Wheelchair Rugby Cup in Paris is just around the corner, highlighting the crucial importance of specialised wheelchairs. The fruit of years of innovation, they represent the perfect fusion of advanced technology and sport. Every detail of the chair is tailored to the unique skills of the player, amplifying their talent and enriching the strategy of the game.

Wheelchair selection

Selection depends on the player’s classification, ranging from 0.5 for the most severe disabilities to 3.5 for less severe disabilities, ensuring fairness according to disability. Generally speaking, 0.5-1.5 players opt for defensive chairs, while 2.0-3.5 players prefer offensive chairs.

Defensive wheelchairs

This equipment is the rolling fortress of players, generally those with a classification of 0.5 to 1.5. Their main role? To block the opposition and ensure that the ball is put back into play.

  • The backrest, adjusted to the player’s body shape, provides optimum support for the back.
  • The footplate, located where the feet rest, protects and stabilises the legs.
  • The grid (or bumper) at the front of the chair is used to stop or deflect an opponent.
  • The handrail, the outer circle of the wheel, allows players to push and steer the wheelchair.
  • The flange, a circular protection inside the wheels, prevents damage to the spokes.
  • Small wheels at the back prevent the chair from tipping backwards during sudden movements.

Offensive wheelchairs

Designed for players from 2.0 to 3.5, these chairs focus on speed and agility.

  • Extensions called ‘Wings’ are located on each side of the chair to make it easier to get through the defenders.
  • It also has a grid at the front to help repel and protect against opposing assaults.
  • Each chair is specially adapted to its user (dimensions, centre of gravity adjustment, etc.), offering unique tactical advantages on the pitch.

The beauty of this duality lies in the fact that each chair is adapted to the player’s function, adding strategic depth to the game.

To really grasp the scope of the sport, come and see a match live. The link between the athlete and his chair will captivate you. Be ready to go in Paris on 18 October!