LA 2028: Wheelchair fencing to feature at Paralympics
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced that wheelchair fencing will feature at the LA 2028 Paralympic Games following an extensive and highly competitive application process.
The sport is one of 22 to make it onto the programme after a record 33 International Federations applied.
International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports (IWAS) Wheelchair Fencing Chairperson Pal Szekeres said: “We are naturally absolutely delighted that wheelchair fencing will be showcased to millions of people around the world at LA 2028 and especially bring the sport to new audiences in the USA.
“We were able to demonstrate a case for inclusion, that met the International Paralympic Committee’s objectives for a diverse programme that exhibits the best of what Para sport has to offer. In particular, wheelchair fencing has shown it is growing in popularity in the USA and the country’s athletes are winning medals on the world stage. There will be many opportunities to follow them and others over the next five years as well as growing across all areas covered by the application process, with the aim of making successful bids for future Games beyond 2028.
“We would like to thank the IPC’s Governing Board for sharing our vision that wheelchair fencing belongs at the Paralympics, and to everyone that helps to keep it there. We will continue to work every day to ensure that athletes have the chance to compete on the biggest stage of them all.”
Wheelchair fencing is an original Paralympic sport having been pioneered by Sir Ludwig Guttmann at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in the 1950s.
Since then the sport has grown and is now played in 40 countries. There are currently 12 individual Paralympic medal events for men and women in epee, foil and sabre across category A and B, and four team events in foil and epee. At Tokyo 2020 the women’s sabre category A and B was contested for the first time, ensuring there are an equal number of medals available for both genders.
The competition calendar features five World Cups held annually around the world, the most recent of which was staged in Washington D.C., USA, as well as biannual regional and world Championships. Satellite competitions also offer new fencers an entry-level event where they can win world ranking points.
Andrew Parsons, the IPC President, said: “Determining these sports for inclusion to the LA28 Paralympic Games through the International Federation application process was a tremendously difficult job for the IPC Governing Board as we received 33 excellent applications. All International Federations who submitted applications should be congratulated on the quality of their submissions as they underline that all Para sports are getting stronger.
“The sports we have included in the LA28 Paralympic Games provide a competitive and attractive sport programme that will showcase the diversity of the Paralympic Movement.”
Casey Wasserman, LA28’s Chairperson, said: “The LA28 Paralympic Games will be an incredible moment for elite adaptive sport against the backdrop of one of the most diverse and inclusive cities on the planet. We’re looking forward to bringing a remarkable Paralympic sport programme to life that will create an exceptional Games experience for athletes and fans. LA28 has always been about integrating the creative energy of LA into sport tradition to bring new fans into the Olympic and Paralympic Movement. As we explore potential new sports, we will consider how best to elevate the athlete and fan experience and contribute to the overall success of the Games.”
Catch wheelchair fencers in action at the next World Cup being held in Pisa, Italy, from 16-19 March.
Other upcoming editions will take place in Nimes, France; Warsaw, Poland and Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand. The 2023 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Championships will be staged in Terni, Italy, from 2-8 October.