IWAS / About our sport
Wheelchair Fencing is an exciting, dynamic and fast paced sport. It is played by two athletes either as an individual event or as part of a team event.
Modified swords; foil, epee and sabre, are used to score points on specific areas on the body, depending on the weapon type.
Fencers must meet the minimum disability criteria and be classifiable under the IWAS Wheelchair Fencing classification rules.
Rules of Engagement
The rules are based on those of the International Fencing Federation (FIE) with amendments appropriate to the needs of wheelchair fencers. For example, wheelchairs are fixed in position in a frame on the piste and fencers must remain with at least one half of their bottom on the seat at all times.
To ensure the two fencers can reach each other their distance has to be measured and the frame adjusted as required. Once the wheelchair is fixed into the frame, the distance is measured with one fencer extending their fencing arm with their weapon attached and the other fencer bending their arm. For epee the distance is for the weapon to touch the end of the elbow of their opponent. For foil and sabre the distance is measured at the inside bend of the elbow.
Men and women compete in their choice of the sport’s three weapons; foil, epee and sabre. Fencers fight to five points in the early rounds (Poules). In the following knockout stage (Direct Elimination) they fight up to fifteen points.
Styles of Fencing
WeaponThe foil is a light weapon derived from the court sword.
Target areaThe trunk, defined by the metallic lame jacket.
Hits scoredWhen the point of the weapon makes contact with the opponent’s metallic jacket, and the button at the end of the weapon is depressed fully. A fencer must earn the right of way in foil.
EquipmentLame jacket, lame bib on the face mask.
Right of wayA fencer earns the right of way in foil by:
- Being the first to attack their opponent.
- Parrying or blocking their opponent’s attack.
- Taking their opponent’s blade.
The scoring of pointsIf both lights indicate a hit the referee decides which fencer has the right of way and scores the point. A white light indicates a hit off target and the point is played again. If the referee can’t decide which fencer has right of way the point is played again.
WeaponThe epee is derived from the traditional duelling sword.
Target areaThe whole body from the waist upwards.
Hits scoredWhen the point of the weapon makes contact with the opponent on the target area, and the button at the end of the weapon is depressed fully. Both fencers may score hits simultaneously.
EquipmentLame apron which covers the non-target area.
The scoring of pointsBoth fencers can score points during action. There is no right of way. The fencer on the left of the referee has a red light, and the fencer on the right of the referee has a green light.
A red or green light illuminated indicates a hit to the target area and a point scored by that fencer. A metallic lame apron covers the non-target area.
WeaponThe sabre is derived from the cavalry sword.
Target areaThe trunk above the waist, arms and head.
Hits scoredWhen some part of the weapon comes into contact with the opponent’s metallic lame jacket or face mask. The sabre is a cutting weapon so the whole weapon is electrified, not just the point. As with the foil the fencer must earn the right of way to score the point.
EquipmentLame jacket, lame bib on metallic face mask, lame cuff.
Right of way:A fencer earns the right of way in sabre by
- being the first to attack their opponent.
- parrying or blocking their opponent’s attack.
- making their opponent miss with their attack.
This is the same as for foil except that a hit off target is not indicated by a white light, so fencing continues until one or other fencer scores a hit.
The scoring of pointsBoth fencers can score points during action. The scoring is the same for foil, it has right of way, the fencer must establish their priority. The fencer on the left of the referee has a red light, and the fencer on the right of the referee has a green light. A red or green light illuminated indicates a hit to the target area and a point scored by that fencer. A metallic lame apron covers the non-target area.
Sabre fencing is very fast. Once the referee calls “Allez” both fencers use lightning fast reactions and skill to overcome their opponent.
The Direct Elimination bouts are fenced slightly differently in that the fencers halt when one fencer reaches eight points and both fencers take a one minute break.
They then resume and fence to a conclusion when one fencer reaches 15 points.