Sport Focus

Sport : Fencing

2 fencers en guarde. Sketch by unknown artist. Win or lose wheelchair fencers in Athens are getting the
electric chair...a look at the rules of this ancient sport.
Medals Table
Final Rankings
About the Wheelchair designs
Image of racing, tennis and basketball wheelchairs. Click to find out more.

Athlete Profile

Athlete : Jayant Mistry
Event : Wheelchair Tennis

Great Britain's Nº1 and World's Top 10 wheelchair tennis player. 37 years old, full time athlete. Why Jayant is a serious medal contender

Jayant Mistry GB Tennis Player Head Shot
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All about those strange looking Wheelchairs. (Also tennis chairs and basketball chairs).

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.

This is very apparent at the top level of the Paralympics. Even someone playing tennis or basketball at Club level will probably have a specialised lightweight wheelchair used only for that 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.
Example of a racing wheelchair. Image of the 'Quickie Racer'

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.

See more about the:
tennis wheelchair

basketball wheelchair

See about these sports:
Wheelchair Tennis
Wheelchair Basketball



Why the different shaped wheelchairs?
Tennis Chairs
BasketBall Chairs

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