Sport : Fencing
Event : Wheelchair Tennis
For Athens Hotel Accommodation
All about those strange looking Wheelchairs. (Also
tennis chairs and basketball
Twenty years ago a wheelchair was a wheelchair and everybody got the same one. Two big wheels, two small and a lot of metal with a dull grey finish.
The Cadillac principle of 'make it big and heavy', was religiously applied to wheelchair manufacture. Thankfully, that doesn't happen now.
The advent of tough lightweight steel and titanium revolutionised
the wheelchair industry. Bright paintwork brought in The Marketing Department.
Engineers and ergonomic designers are constantly striving to re-invent the wheel, with equipment available now that would have been unrecognisable as a wheelchair two decades ago.
That does lead to some strange and uncomfortable
looking sports wheelchairs.
See about Basketball wheelchairs and Tennis wheelchairs.
It also means that very few wheelchair athletes use their everyday lightweight wheelchair when playing their chosen sport.
Perhaps the strangest looking wheelchairs at first site are those used on the track. Like this 'Quickie Racer' in the photo.
|Wheelchair racing chairs with the extra long
wheel base between the large front wheel and the athlete tucked into a
small bucket seat over the two back wheels.
Using smaller than normal push rims
(less arm movement but more push). Steering is done by physically moving the
front wheel as opposed to the manipulation of the rear wheels.
In other words the modern day racing wheelchair goes in a straight line if you try to push it like a standard wheelchair.
Few performance sports wheelchairs are less than $1500. To
someone thinking about taking up a wheelchair sport, the cost of all this
gear can seem prohibitive - which it is, so try out each sport first.
The sport you enjoy playing will probably have a local club, where hopefully someone will let you have their old chair that's only a few years old.
It may not be shiny, but bear in mind that each year there are new 'cutting edge', 'state of the art' wheelchairs in all sports. The basic chair design principles stay the same.
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