Wheelchair fencing Academy concludes in Bengaluru


The 2022 International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports (IWAS) Wheelchair Fencing Academy in Bengaluru, India, has finished with 18 referees, coaches, classifiers and athletes from seven countries heading home with a wealth of new knowledge.

Held from 14-20 July, the Academy was supported by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and co-hosted with the Paralympic Committee of India. It was the second edition, following on from Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2021.

The IWAS Wheelchair Fencing Academy brings together experts in the sport to share their knowledge with countries who are just starting out, as well as those who want to brush-up their skills. This edition targeted Asian countries.

The aim of offering training and workshops for referees, classifiers and coaches in one place is to ensure all the skills needed to build a wheelchair fencing programme are provided.

Nine coaches from Nepal, Singapore, India, Indonesia, Mauritius and France received specialist training from British coaches Baldip Sahota and Ritrawe Sutera in epee and foil. Nepal were learning about wheelchair fencing for the first time.

Sahota said: “What an experience! It was great to see participants from different countries taking part in the IWAS coach education programme, from complete beginners to experienced fencers/coaches.

“You know you have done a good job when everyone is eager, asking questions being fully engaged and all have a big smile at the end of the day.

“I am looking forward to meeting them with their fencers at an IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Cup soon!

The referee training also featured three days of training in foil and epee from IWAS Wheelchair Fencing referee Tatia Aptsiauri. It was followed by a practical and written exam which all five participants from India, Indonesia and France passed.

“It was a big responsibility and at the same time an opportunity to be a leader of the referee’s seminar in Bengaluru,” Aptsiauri said. “It has been a great experience. I think the candidate’s liked the seminar and they got some new knowledge after it.  I hope I will see them as an IWAS Wheelchair Fencing Referee in the future.”

IWAS Wheelchair Fencing’s Head of Classification, Anita Laszlo, led the classifier training. Participants learnt about the theory, rules and regulations currently practiced and the assessments that are carried out during classification in wheelchair fencing.

Seven trainees from four countries got the chance to join classification sessions before taking part in written and oral exams, which they all passed.

Wednesday (20 July) saw all three groups come together for a short competition where they got to observe more athletes and practice their skills.

IWAS Chief Executive Officer, Charmaine Hooper, said: “On behalf of IWAS and IWAS Wheelchair Fencing I would like to thank all the seminar leaders and participants for their great work over the last week in Bengaluru. It is great to see everyone learning new skills whilst enjoying their experiences, and we hope everyone returns home inspired and energised.

“I would also like to extend our appreciation to the IPC and Paralympic Committee of India for their support in funding and organising this edition of the IWAS Wheelchair Fencing Academy. Together we hope to continue the growth of wheelchair fencing around the world.”

The IWAS Wheelchair Fencing Academy joins training videos available online, virtual referee and coaching courses and free-to-access content such as how to build a do-it-yourself wheelchair fencing frame. The sport has also recently launched an online platform where anyone new to the sport can learn about it and test their knowledge along the way.