‘Overwhelming response’ to coaches’ seminar


Course conductors have reported an ‘overwhelming response’ to an online seminar to introduce coaches to wheelchair fencing as 110 people from 40 countries took part in the sessions over two weekends in March.

The aim of the sessions was to attract new coaches to the sport, give them an in-depth overview of key topics and encourage them to start wheelchair fencing programmes in their countries.

The seminars ran over three days and included an explanation of classification, rules, refereeing, equipment and a presentation of epee, foil and sabre. A whole day was dedicated to the principles of training, examples of exercises and how to put them into practice.

The seminars were put together by the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) Wheelchair Fencing and the Austrian Wheelchair Fencing Federation. They were hosted by Dimitris Kazaglis, head coach of Greece; Manos Bogdos, national classifier and Chair of the sport’s rules Commission; and international referee Iason Athanasiadis with cameos from athletes who shared their experiences.

Alberto Cruz, IWAS Wheelchair Fencing Development Officer, said: “We had such an overwhelming response to the seminar that we had to do two sessions, which is incredible.

“To know that there is such a thirst for knowledge and information about coaching wheelchair fencing is really encouraging and shows a bright future. The interest from female coaches and trainers without any experience of wheelchair fencing is particularly heartening.

“We hope to see more and more countries joining us on the international calendar, supported by other initiatives. Watch this space for more opportunities to get involved in wheelchair fencing!”

The coaches seminars follow-on from other virtual sessions held in late 2020 and into 2021 to introduce referees to wheelchair fencing. These were also aimed at creating structures nationally to support the development of the sports and proved similarly popular.

Both the referee and coaches’ sessions have been uploaded to YouTube for everyone to view.