Asia learns more about wheelchair fencing


The Asian Paralympic Committee (APC) has hosted a webinar on wheelchair fencing, aimed at raising awareness about the sport in the region.

The session was led by International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) Wheelchair Fencing’s Development Officer, Alberto Cruz Garcia, on 26 October.

Fourty-one participants from 15 countries joined the meeting to hear from Cruz on a range of topics. These included the history of wheelchair fencing and the different weapons, competition formats and equipment, an introduction to IWAS as the International Federation, an overview of classification, and sharing stories from developing nations on what is needed to start wheelchair fencing in a country.

Cruz said: “I would like to thank the Asian Paralympic Committee for such a great opportunity to spread the word about wheelchair fencing and to share hints and tips on how countries can build their own programmes. Often there is a misconception that a lot of equipment or funding is required, when that does not have to be the case.

“The participants were really engaged and asked lots of questions, which was very encouraging. There was also a lot of discussion around classification and referee seminars. We will look into organising these activities in Asia so we can support the growth of wheelchair fencing in the wake of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics in any way we can.”

The APC launched a series of webinars in August designed to support the development of the Paralympic Movement in the region during the Coronavirus pandemic.

APC President Majid Rashed explained the thinking behind the webinars: “We’ve been holding online meetings with each of our NPCs [National Paralympic Committees] to understand the impact of Covid-19 and to establish how we can help them to hopefully emerge stronger. It’s clear that the cancellation of many events and activities due to the pandemic has been disappointing and frustrating but we were determined to try to make the best of the situation. We therefore have decided to turn this pause in the normal sporting calendar into a positive and to use the time to share knowledge and expertise with our membership and the webinar series is designed to do just that.”

Working with International Federations and International Disability Sport Organisations, the webinars aim to educate and inform Asian NPCs, athletes and future Asian Para Games organisers on various topics, including technical aspects of sports and classification through to tips on bidding and hosting tournaments.

In addition to an introduction to wheelchair fencing, IWAS is supporting the project with another seminar on clean sport delivered by Head of Anti-Doping Guzel Idrisova. Further details will be available shortly.